Tuesday, June 15, 2021 (Oakland, CA) – The East Bay Regional Park District is partnering with Outdoor Afro to commemorate Juneteenth by waiving park entry fees on Saturday, June 19, 2021. Juneteenth is an annual recognition of the 250,000 enslaved Black Americans in Texas who were notified of their freedom on June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect.
“There is no better place than parks to reflect on Juneteenth, the end of slavery, and today’s ongoing social justice issues,” said Park District Board President Dee Rosario. “The District embraces diversity, inclusion and promotes equal access for all.”
“The Park District is proud to partner with Outdoor Afro in celebrating Juneteenth and encouraging the public to get into nature,” added Rosario.
Outdoor Afro is encouraging people nationwide to reflect on what freedom means here in America by spending 2.5 hours in nature – in a nearby park, forest, or beach – to recognize the 2.5 years of freedom that was denied to so many. Their goal is to get 50,000 people into nature nationwide.
“We are thrilled that many local business leaders have joined this commemoration to reflect on what freedom means, and we are grateful for the Park District offering this free day in the parks,” stated Rue Mapp, founder & CEO of Outdoor Afro. “We encourage all to connect with the healing power of nature on this day and every day.”
The Park District has a long-standing commitment to diversity and ensuring safe and welcoming outdoor spaces for Black, Brown, Indigenous, and People of Color. This ongoing work includes the recent naming of the new regional park at the former Concord Naval Weapons Station “Thurgood Marshall Regional Park – Home of the Port Chicago 50” in recognition of the history and social justice significance of the deadly Port Chicago explosion, the bravery of the fifty men who, in an act of protest against the discriminatory policies of the segregated Navy, stood against unsafe and unjust working conditions, and Thurgood Marshall whose advocacy on their behalf as an attorney for the NAACP led to the desegregation of the U.S. military.
The Regional Parks Foundation, which supports the Park District mission by raising funds for universal access, environmental stewardship, education and recreation programs, and acquisition of new parklands, has also launched an initiative to provide 750 free memberships to underserved Black, Brown, Indigenous, and People of Color.
The Park District fees waived for Juneteenth include park entrance, parking, dogs, horses, boat launching, and fishing. The Juneteenth fee waiver does not apply to swimming, camping, and reservable picnic facilities (due to COVID-19 capacity restrictions), District concessions, and state fees. Concessions include the Tilden Merry-Go-Round and Redwood Valley Railway steam train, among others. State fees that are not waived include fishing licenses and watercraft inspections for invasive mussels.