Juneteenth commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans in Texas were informed of their freedom on June 19th, 1865 – a full two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Black/African American communities across the country have marked Juneteenth with celebration and organizing efforts centered on supporting and uplifting Black life.
In 2018, forward thinking community members, Simone Ruskamp, Chiany Dri, and Jordan Killebrew, brought a reiteration of Juneteenth back to Santa Barbara as several Black/African American Elders have celebrated in our region in the past.
Juneteenth SB’s annual event has grown each year, with an array of Black community members sharing their stories, showcasing their work, and their collective histories.
For 2022, Juneteenth SB welcomes the community at large to their fifth year of celebrating Juneteenth in Santa Barbara! Their free block party celebration will be on Sunday, June 19, 2022, from 12 pm to 5 pm, in historically Black Santa Barbara, also known as the Funk Zone, on the 200 block of Gray Avenue. As the celebration coincides with Father’s Day, the event will acknowledge the caregivers in our lives through the theme: Caring For the People.
The celebration includes free food for up to 200 people at Shalhoobs Funk Zone Patio, local live performances, the return of the Black/African American Artisan Market, a kids zone with Princess Tiana from Princess & the Frog, and so much more!
We’re excited to experience Juneteenth SB’s Block Party Celebration and are thrilled to see the recognition of these individuals’ talents and contributions to our community. We’ve included some information about the artists and the founders below in hopes that you’ll be inspired to support, connect and collaborate with them well beyond June 19th.
Meet the artists:
Vivian Storm is a singer, drag performer, ideas consultant, experience curator, and life/health coach. Vivian often performs at college and university campuses. Vivian appreciates being able to connect with the audience on self-loving ideas such as inclusivity, love, growth, and reflection. Alongside being a performer, Vivian provides workshops on a multitude of topics including gender and self-love.
Miriam Dance is a songwriter, singer, musician who is based in the Santa Barbara area. Miriam is an advocate of positivity and always sees the value in providing gratitude for
everything, especially the outdoor nature. She also often participates in panel discussions and live music celebrations for Healing Justice SB, a community organization that celebrates African American culture. Miriam performs within the Santa Barbara region.
Talitha Gabrielle is a singer-songwriter, musician, and mixing artist originally from Hampton VA. Her music can be found on all platforms, including Apple Music and Spotify. She graduated from Hampton University in 2013 with a B.S. in Music, and she is currently the technical director for a high school theatre in Santa Barbara, where she teaches high school students how to build and design scenic elements, and design lighting and sound for theatre.
The New Vibe
The New Vibe is a musical group based out of Santa Barbara. The group is rooted in psychedelic, funk, and new-age musical sounds. The New Vibe is an inclusive and welcoming group.
Sojourner Kincaid Rolle
Sojourner Kincaid Rolle is a poet, playwright, environmental educator, and cultural and peace activist. She served a two-year term as Santa Barbara’s Poet Laureate and is known for her work raising awareness of BIPOC history throughout the County. Sojourner is a 35-year resident of Santa Barbara, and is heavily involved as a guiding elder for the Juneteenth Santa Barbara and Healing Justice Santa Barbara organizations. Through multiple school and public programs, she uses her craft to engage poets young and old.
DJ Tim Stone
DJ Tim Stone is a football coach and DJ, who has lent his talent to programs at UCSB, Dos Pueblos High, and SBCC. He recognizes the importance of music’s role in community and culture, and the sense of belonging that black individuals can find in black music. When Tim isn’t coaching or playing the game of football, you can find him making music mixes.
MC Jacquelyn Chin
Jacquelyn Chin is a doctoral student in Counseling Psychology working under Dr. Tania Israel. She worked in the African American Studies department at the University of Maryland, College Park in the Black Child and Family Lab. Her research focuses on interventions towards internalized stigma among queer Black and Latinx communities. Jackie’s life goal is for Black queer and GSM groups to have access to mental health resources.
This year’s Block Party will also include an Artisan Market featuring: Aiku Apothecary, Angela Cantu, Baked by the Hoods, Cali Moss LLC, COVID-19 Mobile Vaccine Clinic, Elf Kraft, Gateway Educational Services, Healing Justice SB, Healing Space (UCSB), High Resonance Rocks, MLK Jr. SB, Mo Sama, NAACP Santa Barbara, R-Evolution: Dialogues in the Diaspora, The Sea League, UCSB Black Grad Association, Valley in Film, and Warrior Mother Essential Oils & Blends.
Meet the Founders:
SIMON RUSKAMP | FOUNDER
Simone Akila (she/her/her) is a Black woman who loves Black people. She is a co-founder of Juneteenth Santa Barbara as well as Healing Justice Santa Barbara. She has led numerous successful campaigns for justice in Santa Barbara and currently is one of the driving forces behind the forming police oversight commission in Santa Barbara.
CHIANY DRI | FOUNDER
Chiany Dri (she/her/hers) is a mixed race Black Latina, born and raised on Tongva land in Los Angeles, California. She is a mother of three, an organizer, justice worker and the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles.
JORDAN KILLEBREW | FOUNDER
Jordan Killebrew (he, him, his) is a Queer Black person with an abnormal love of community. As the Director of Communications at the Santa Barbara Foundation he and his team promote and enhance the Foundation’s identity through marketing and communications strategy, social media, publications, public relations, advertising, and events.
We’re so excited to see the performances and goods on display and want to thank the leaders behind Juneteenth SB for bringing these artists and artisans together to make this year’s celebration possible. Additionally, we thank them for all that they do for Santa Barbara and beyond.
These brief introductions merely scratch the surface of these leaders’ impressive history of work within the Santa Barbara community. To learn more about their many talents, and deep level of involvement in Juneteenth SB and other local organizations visit: https://juneteenthsb.org/roots