Juneteenth-in-Berkeley was the brain child of RD Bonds, Bradley Walters, and Sam Dyke, who started the Festival celebration to promote community pride, and bring together South Berkeley businesses and residents in the celebration of a major African American cultural event. The establishment of Berkeley Juneteenth Association, Inc. (BJAI), culminated in the first annual Festival in 1987. Former City Councilmembers Mary Wainwright and the late Maudell Shirek were instrumental in obtaining City sponsorship. We are also grateful for the late Lothario Lotho and Giselle Thomas who dedicated over 25 years toward the success of this event.
BJAI is committed to educating future generations about the history and accomplishments of African Americans, creating programming which highlights our music and culture, and acknowledging people and events that have brought us as a community and a nation a mighty long way.
As of 2014, BJAI began producing Black History Month celebrations during the month of February.