SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Hundreds attended a Juneteenth event in Balboa Park Friday.
The event, 'Artists 4 Black Lives,' involved local artists commemorating Juneteenth through songs and performances.
"It was a way to celebrate Juneteenth, mourn our fallen black brothers and sisters, and amplify our black artists' voices," The event director, Eboni Muse, said.
The holiday commemorates the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas learned they were free, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued.
"As black people, it is our Independence Day. We were not freed July 4," Muse said. "I personally think it's something we need to celebrate all the time."
This year's Juneteenth celebration takes place at a time when the country is engaged in a national conversation about racial injustice and police reform. The atmosphere at Balboa Park was inviting and welcoming, drawing a diverse crowd.
"I'm hoping our artists will open the eyes of those who see us and really understand how we feel and how this has affected our people," Muse said.