Celebrate Juneteenth, 2022 in Portland!
This year marks the second time ever that Juneteenth will be celebrated as a certified, bonafide, federal holiday, which is as good an indicator as any of America’s pace in the progression toward racial equity. This will also be the first year Oregon celebrates Juneteenth as an official state holiday.
Juneteenth commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery on June 19, 1865, and the emancipation of African American slaves. While the Emancipation Proclamation of 1862 effectively ended slavery on January 1, 1863, it wasn’t until the slaves in Texas finally got their freedom in 1865 that the last enslaved people were liberated.
On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed Juneteenth into law as the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was added back in 1983, but it’s been observed and celebrated since pretty much 1865. Texas marked Juneteenth as an official state holiday in 1980, and in the years since, eight more states have come on board.
Juneteenth Oregon 50th Anniversary Celebration
Of course, some people have been celebrating in Oregon a lot longer than it took the government to finally recognize its importance. 2022 marks the fiftieth anniversary of The Juneteenth Oregon Celebration, founded in 1972 by Clara Peoples. Every year, the celebration starts off with a parade that leads into a variety of festivities including live music, entertainment, food, educational booths, art, cultural booths, and even a children’s play area.
The main thing to know is that everything gets going on Saturday, June 18th, 2022, with the parade. It starts at 11:00am from the Safeway on MLK and Ainsworth. The festival gets under way at noon in Lillis-Albina Park and goes until 7:00pm, before opening up again from 11:00am–6:00pm Sunday.
Another way to celebrate Juneteenth is with Portland’s First Annual Black Book Festival. It’s also taking place on June 18th, from 12:00pm–6:00pm, in nearby Peninsula Park. The Freadom Festival is based on the belief that books should be inclusive and accessible. It was created to educate people about the importance of Juneteenth, foster fellowship with a community of book lovers, support Black businesses, and celebrate literacy as well as liberation.
Bring a book for the community book swap (kids under ninth grade get one free!), stay to hear some book talks with local Black authors, and think about what you might want to donate to the PDX Books to Prisoners book drive. A list of what they’re looking for is on the Freadom Festival website.
This might be a good time to learn more about Prominent Black Cannabis Advocates.