Santa Ynez Valley Celebrates June 19 at Solvang Park with Singing and Dancing | Lifestyles

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Local families gathered on the lawn at Solvang Park on Saturday to celebrate the second community event on June 17, held in person this year with music, dancing and food.

The significance of this day was made official when President Joe Biden passed a law last week establishing June 19 as National Independence Day. Federal Day commemorates the emancipation of the last enslaved African Americans in 1865.

“June 19 marks the 158th anniversary of the true end of slavery,” said Valerie Kissell, CEO of Santa Ynez Valley People Helping People, a sponsor of the event. “It’s a day to celebrate, promote awareness and move forward towards lasting change.”

The event included entertainment hosted by Afro-Brazilian Banda Alegria troupe from the Brazilian Cultural Arts Center of Santa Barbara, who performed a maculelê stick combat dance and a Capoeira martial arts demonstration.

Capoeira was developed by African slaves in Brazil who disguised the fighting technique as a vibrant dance that was used to learn skills to fight for freedom.

Local youth also performed, including members of the Santa Ynez Valley Jazz Band, Jayla Rose who sang “Stand by Me” and Laila Prudhomme who danced to “Lift Every Voice”.

The Solvang celebration was designed in 2020 by Madi Wilson, then 7, founder of Madi’s Treasure Box, a non-profit organization that produces “World Changer” products to promote literacy and inclusion in the world. schools and libraries across America.

Madi’s mother Vashti Wilson – CEO of Madi’s Treasure Box and Air Force combat veteran – said her daughter had not necessarily expressed her desire to host a similar community event, but that she instead shared the dream of “everyone loving each other.” “

“Our vision was one of jubilation,” Wilson explained. “We wanted to honor the sacrifices of our ancestors while building joyful relationships and community. It is only through shared experiences that the necessary conversations and lasting changes can occur.”

She noted that Juneteenth is not just black history; it is rather American history.

“This day commemorates the freedom and triumph of our ancestors and is a wonderful opportunity for the community to come together,” Wilson said.

Juneteenth in Solvang Park was presented by nonprofit Madi’s Treasure Box Inc. and sponsored by High on the Hog Catering and Santa Ynez Valley People Helping People.

Lisa André covers lifestyles and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record.

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