The City of Temecula, Community Services Department, Temecula Valley Unified School District, and the Temecula Valley Museum announce a new Student Art Mural in Sam Hicks Monument Park (28300 Mercedes Street). This temporary public art piece celebrates Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. Originating in Galveston, Texas, it is now celebrated annually on June 19th throughout the United States, with varying official recognition. It is commemorated on the anniversary of the announcement by Union Army General Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865.
This month, in honor of Juneteenth, Temecula high school students, facilitated by Great Oak High School's Black Student Union Media Director, Phylicia Joseph, took their inspiration from Jane Hartman, Distinguished Fellow and President Emerita at the Wilson Center, a non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues; and 44th President Barack Obama. Ms. Hartman said, “True justice and equality continue to be a distant dream for too many in this country, and we must not allow the important progress we have made to blind us from the struggles that still persist.” On a previous observance of Juneteenth, President Obama declared, “the slaves of Galveston knew their freedom was only a first step, just as the bloodied foot soldiers who crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge 100 years later knew they had to keep marching.”
These sentiments inspired the students to create a mural commemorating Juneteenth celebrating the progress that has been made while still respecting the struggles that persist, by showcasing the talents of African-American students and residents in our community and their part in the "important progress" towards equality and representation.
Temecula Mayor Maryann Edwards commented, “The City of Temecula is very proud of our local high school students for their positive message celebrating our African-American community. By providing this public space it allows their voices to be heard, encourages open conversations, and helps in advancing Temecula’s race, equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives.”
The Student Art Mural Project is organized by Temecula Valley Museum. Local art students are invited to paint murals on canvas that will be displayed in Sam Hicks Monument Park through the month of June, 2021.
The museum will also celebrate Juneteenth through activities including crafts, cultural facts, recipes and virtual tours found at TemeculaValleyMuseum.org. The museum also offers facts and free crafts relating to Juneteenth in the Art and Education Room for all participants. All are welcome! For more information, please call (951) 694-6450.