PORTLAND, Ore. — Portlanders celebrated Juneteenth on Sunday at Albina Park in North Portland.
Juneteenth commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States, marking June 19, 1865 when the last slaves in Galveston, Texas learned about the Emancipation Proclamation and their freedom – two years after the proclamation was signed.
President Joe Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday last year, and Governor Kate Brown created the state holiday starting this year.
The group Juneteenth Oregon is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022.
“It’s history that we get to celebrate everything they went through, self-reflect, that we can walk outside and be free doing it,” said Jenelle Jack, the director of Juneteenth Oregon.
“It’s personal to me because my grandmother started this Juneteenth celebration in Oregon, so carrying on her legacy and making sure that hard work that she put out there, I’m continuing it, trying to carry it on for her,” Jack continued.
Sunday’s celebration saw hundreds of people from the Portland community.
“Today, literally, biggest turnout I’ve seen since I’ve been coming,” said Kiyara, one of the attendees.
“There are many people here today that have been a part of Juneteenth from the beginning,” said Carla Lee, a volunteer at the celebration.
Mariah Taylor, an attendee at Portland’s Juneteenth Festival, said rights for Black Americans have come a long way since the 1800s, but there is still has a long way to go.
“We now have freedom that we didn’t have but … we still don’t have the equity. We still don’t have what it takes to say that we are truly free,” Taylor said. “It’s not free until we have the freedom to have equity, in every area, until we are free from having knees on our necks.”
“All shapes, sizes, color, ethnicity, ages… it’s about coming together as one,” Taylor said.
If you’re looking to get involved in Juneteenth celebrations this Sunday, one organization is making it easy. At Black Resilience Fund’s website, you can find local businesses that are donating up to 100% of proceeds this Sunday to Black communities.