Our offices will be closed on Monday, June 20, in honor of Juneteenth, which is now a nationally recognized federal holiday. If Juneteenth is a new holiday to you, I wanted to fill you in on the background of this important holiday and offer some resources for learning more.
Juneteenth marks our country’s second independence day. On June 19, 1865, more than two years after President Lincoln signed the emancipation proclamation, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas. He informed the enslaved African Americans of their freedom and that the Civil War had ended. This momentous occasion has been celebrated as Juneteenth — a combination of June and 19 — for over 150 years. Although it has long been celebrated in the African American community, this monumental event remains largely unknown to most Americans. The historical legacy of Juneteenth shows the value of never giving up hope in uncertain times.
If you are interested in learning more about Juneteenth, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture has a phenomenal virtual exhibit on Juneteenth. It includes articles on the history of the day, and discusses why it’s important to celebrate today.
If you are looking for a local celebration, there will be a Juneteenth Festival in Santa Rosa, an event we are proud to help sponsor. If you are looking for inspiration to give in honor of Juneteenth, our team has put together a shortlist of giving opportunities you can access below.
To make a grant through your donor-advised fund at Community Foundation Sonoma County, please access these Giving Opportunities through our Giving Center or reach out to your Philanthropic Advisor for assistance.
As an art form pioneered by Black artists, jazz is rooted in the African American experience. Healdsburg Jazz is dedicated to growing local awareness and appreciation of jazz by facilitating cross-cultural interaction, providing performance opportunities, and educating young people and adults about the vital role of jazz as an Indigenous American art form. The annual Healdsburg Jazz Festival is just one of the curated programs hosted by Healdsburg Jazz each year. In addition to the Jazz Festival, Healdsburg Jazz sponsors music education programs that tie history, music, and learning together for Healdsburg’s primary and secondary school students and adults in the broader community. Healdsburg Jazz hosts an annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, hosts a Maya Angelou concert for national poetry month, and hosts the Freedom Jazz Choir, an ensemble open to everyone free of charge and regardless of age, background, and musical ability.
A gift to Healdsburg Jazz will help support its mission to promote and preserve jazz on the stage, in the classroom, and the community.
According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, Black adults in the U.S. are more likely than white adults to report persistent symptoms of emotional distress, such as sadness, hopelessness, and feeling like everything is an effort. Black adults living below the poverty line are more than twice as likely to report serious psychological distress than those with more financial security.
Despite the needs, only one in three Black adults who need mental health care receive it. NAMI Sonoma County offers culturally relevant educational resources, support, and advocacy for people struggling with mental health, with programs including a warmline staffed by knowledgeable, supportive professionals who can help connect callers to mental health resources. They also offer weekly support groups for people seeking help and families and caregivers with loved ones who are impacted by mental illness. NAMIs’ culturally appropriate mental health resources allow the Black community access and support that is otherwise unavailable.
Petaluma Blacks for Community Development (PBCD) was formed in 1977 to focus on sharing Black history and culture. In the years since its founding, PBCD has spearheaded education and outreach initiatives, including what has become an annual Black History Month celebration with concerts, church services, speakers, and exhibits at the Petaluma History Museum. In 2021 they piloted the launch of a highly successful mentoring program, The Grapevine Youth Leadership Program, which aims to support Black youth in Sonoma County in developing their leadership skills and help them reach their goals and aspirations for the future. It also gives them a safe space to discuss the challenges and issues they may face as youth of color in our society and get support from peers and African American professionals, leaders, and mentors.
A gift to Petaluma Blacks for Community Development will help support inclusivity, diversity, and equity within the community.
Sonoma County Black Coalition (SCBC) is a black-led organization that provides a safe, supportive community that centers the African and African-American experience in Sonoma County. Led in part by a group of dedicated registered nurses, SCBC is focused on holistic wellness and community building, with programs that include a community garden at South Park Community Garden, a weekly Black Male circle where youth and older Black men gather to share resources and fellowship. They also host a Black Women book club that curates and brings together women of African/Black descent to find fellowship, decompress, share Covid-19 information, and discuss any issues they may be going through. They also offer covid safety education and translation services for African immigrants who speak Tigrinya and Amharic.
A gift to Sonoma County Black Coalition will help the organization continue growing its innovative program offerings in the coming year.
Sonoma County Black Forum’s (SCBF) mission is to lead, serve, and thrive! The consortium of local artists, community organizers, educators, and entrepreneurs is working to create community engagement through conversations and workshops. In addition to hosting educational forums, workshops, and networking sessions, during the coronavirus pandemic, SCBF launched a direct service program offering free food distribution to Black, Indigenous, and people of color to help provide meaningful direct support to the community.
A gift to Sonoma County Black Forum will help SCBF continue developing and expanding the Black experience and contribute to the culture of our Sonoma community.