Denise Lynn Banks and her daughter, Elizah, sway to the rhythm of Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” at the end of the Juneteenth celebration in Manhattan Beach. (Photo by Nadia Bidarian)
Redondo Union High School

Juneteenth in photos: Manhattan Beach celebrates new federal holiday

A Bob Marley medley performance, a drum circle led by percussionist Curtis Byrd, speeches by Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn and State Senator Steven Bradford, and three food trucks were among the highlights of the Juneteenth celebration at Bruce’s Beach Park on Saturday.

Though Juneteenth celebrates the freeing of slaves in Texas in 1865, President Joe Biden declared the day a national holiday just last week. Kavon Ward, founder of Justice for Bruce’s Beach, organized Saturday’s celebration.

“We’re here to show in a peaceful way that not only are we ready to celebrate Juneteenth, we’re here to give this property back,” said Bradford, who authored the bill that would give L.A. County the authority to return Bruce’s Beach to the Bruce family. “Bruce’s Beach will be an example of what reparations could look like here in the state of California.” 

Manhattan Beach took the property, a popular beach resort for Black families, from Willa and Charles Bruce nearly 100 years ago. Now, the city wants to give back what the couple lost. 

“We’ll never make up for 100 years of injustices that the Bruce family has gone through. But this is a start,” Hahn said. “Let’s spend the next 100 years righting some wrongs.”

Kavon Ward, the founder of Justice for Bruce’s Beach, is recognized by Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn for her year of activism aimed at restoring the Bruce’s Beach land to the Bruce family. (Photo by Nadia Bidarian)
At the event, former Manhattan Beach mayor Mitch Ward expressed his support for the movement to restore Bruce’s Beach to the descendants of Willa and Charles Bruce. “When someone says to me, ‘I will never vote for a Black man,’ we know the tyranny of racism,” Ward said. (Photo by Nadia Bidarian)
Jamaican-born Reggae artist Errol Bonnick sings a Bob Marley medley. (Photo by Nadia Bidarian)
Los Angeles musician Curtis Byrd and fellow drummer Trang Trinh-Byrd lead a drum circle at Bruce’s Beach, handing drums and tambourines to other attendees to share their passion for music. (Photo by Nadia Bidarian)
Torrance resident Bryana Kunnel shakes a tambourine as others around her play the drums, all part of musician Curtis Byrd’s drum circle. (Photo by Nadia Bidarian)
Stanford graduate and global educational activist Autumn Breon spoke at the event, introducing multiple notable speakers. (Photo by Nadia Bidarian)
Dancers Kamilah and Jenette perform a traditional West African dance at the Juneteenth event while world class African djembe teacher Dramane Koné plays the drums. (Photo by Nadia Bidarian)
A dancer and her son, a percussionist, discuss their performance before the mother’s solo. (Photo by Nadia Bidarian)
A female percussionist performs alongside West African drummer Dramane Koné at Manhattan Beach’s Juneteenth celebration. (Photo by Nadia Bidarian)
West African drummer Dramane Koné’s percussionist group pose for a photo at Bruce’s Beach. (Photo by Nadia Bidarian)