Local communities in San Mateo County will celebrate Juneteenth with author talks, mixers, live music and more. Juneteenth, which has long been celebrated in the Black community, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. President Joe Biden signed a bill Thursday making Juneteenth a federal holiday. Here are some of the Juneteenth events taking place this weekend in San Mateo County.

East Palo Alto

In East Palo Alto, local nonprofit Live in Peace, in partnership with local community organizers and groups, will host a networking mixer for community members and local vendors on Friday.

The event, titled “Small Business: Keeping it in the Community”, takes place 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at University Circle, 1900 University Ave., East Palo Alto.

They also hosted a “youth night” on Thursday, where they announced the winner of a Juneteenth-themed essay contest, who will be awarded a $5,000 scholarship for college or trade school.

Heather Starnes-Logwood, Live in Peace’s executive director, said that they are also kicking off their “Drop the Debt” fundraising campaign, which aims to help college graduates pay off their student loans. She encouraged people to not just show up to events, but to help “put a dent in inequality.”

More information is available on Live In Peace’s Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/LiveInPeaceInc.

Also in East Palo Alto, Tha Hood Squad, a local art collective and activist group with locations around the Bay Area, will host a Juneteenth freedom protest and daytime event on Saturday at 1 p.m.

The event, which takes place at Jack Farrell Park, 2509 Fordham St., East Palo Alto, aims to celebrate freedom, honor East Palo Alto and Menlo Park residents and recognize the 55th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party.

There will be spoken word performances, African dancers, vendors, live music and a petting zoo.

More information is available online on Tha Hood News’ Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thahoodnews/.

Menlo Park

City and community leaders of Menlo Park will commemorate Juneteenth on Saturday morning as they unveil a storyboard honoring the life of Karl E. Clark, who was a war veteran, author, community activist and long-time resident of Belle Haven.

The event takes place from 11 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Karl E. Clark Park, 313 Market Place, Menlo Park.

Speakers include Menlo Park Mayor Drew Combs, City Councilmember Cecilia Taylor, President of the Menlo Park Historical Association Tim Johnston and Fr. Lawrence Goode of St. Francis of Assisi Church in East Palo Alto. More information is available at https://menlopark.org/Calendar.aspx?EID=7491&month=6&year=2021&day=19&calType=0.

Redwood City

The Redwood City Public Library will hold a virtual Juneteeth author talk from 12 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. on Saturday.

The talk will feature authors Dana TherActivist Johnson and Khalid Akil White, who will discuss their book “TherActivist: They/Them/Theirs” and their upcoming documentary.

Johnson is a gender non-binary activist and author who also serves on San Mateo County’s LGBTQ Commission. White is a children’s book author and CEO of the multi-media company Blkmpwr.

A link to register for the talk is available online at https://www.redwoodcity.org/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/50105/2055.