Major Juneteenth events cancelled over fears of violence

Shootings are ruining the Juneteenth holiday

On June 15th, a mass shooting occurred at a major Juneteenth festival in Round Rock, TX. The event featured DJ Hella Yella & Paul Wall. Two groups of people started fighting at a children’s playground, and a short Black male opened fire on the crowd. Eight people were shot, two of them fatally. The wounded include small children.

This was not a surprise. Mass shootings have been occurring at Juneteenth festivals for years.

Major Juneteenth events are now being canceled due to fears of violence and mass shootings.

The Los Angeles Leimert Park Juneteenth Festival was supposed to be one of the biggest in America. It was slated to have hundreds of vendors and six stages. Event organizers say they were anticipating 60k attendees. Less than two weeks beforehand, it was suddenly canceled over safety concerns.

Event organizers blamed “rising costs required to ensure a safe and compliant event” for the cancellation. Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass told reporters that organizers were not able to raise the funds necessary to “ensure a footprint that would [be] safe and hold the integrity of [the] event at scale.”

A significant Juneteenth event in Akron, Ohio, was canceled the night before the event was supposed to take place. The Akron Mayor and City Council said the safety of attendees could not be guaranteed and specifically feared a mass shooting. They cited the Akron mass shooting that occurred two weeks ago. It killed one person and wounded twenty-seven.

A large Juneteenth festival in Hamilton, Ohio, a mostly White suburb of Cincinnati, was billed as a tri-county event but was canceled at the last minute. The organizers have yet to give a specific reason.

The annual Juneteenth festival in Pittsburgh, PA, was downgraded in size because of security costs. Specifically, the annual “Black Music Festival,” which goes along with the main event, was canceled. The organizer said that after last year’s festival, the Pennsyl­vania Department of Con­servation and Natural Re­sources demanded $140k for security and rental port-a-potties.

Meanwhile, the city of Pittsburgh will be holding its own event for the first time. The city publicly bragged that they would use tax-payer dollars to hire a Philadelphia-based security company that is  “owned by a Black woman.” 

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