Seattleites reflect on freedom, resistance and joy to honor the day liberation from slavery finally arrived, over two years after Emancipation
by Ben Danielson
Juneteenth is inextricably connected to the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic that I oversee. I am happy to be celebrating my 21st Juneteenth with the clinic today. Sights, aromas and sounds make up the triple-stranded foundation of this tradition. The sights of gentle smiles, of scores of brown faces in every hue, of generations interlacing, of long tables of generous food offerings. The aromas of a favored traditional family dish, a closely guarded secret barbecue rub, a side that sends you back to your childhood. The sounds of all-too-infrequent reunions, of fervent joyful conversation over plates of food, of solemn words describing the mournful and joyful complexity of this event, of the inspiring syncopation of voices – both talented and just plain sincere – belting out the lines of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Continue reading Juneteenth: A Day That Contains Multitudes→
Seattleites reflect on freedom, resistance and joy to honor the day liberation from slavery finally arrived, over two years after Emancipation.
by Lola Peters
I must have been 8 or 9 the first time I heard about it. My parents were hosting a backyard barbecue for friends and someone mentioned it was Juneteenth. I had to ask my father what the word meant, and he laughingly explained it was a contraction for June 19th, 1865, the date enslaved people of African descent in Texas were told that the U.S. government had freed them 2½ years earlier. As he and his friends chatted about it, I realized it was a cautionary tale. My young mind filled with questions. Continue reading Juneteenth: A Cautionary Tale→
The Emerald rounded up local Juneteenth events so you and yours can easily find ways to participate both in person and virtually in celebrations, marches, live streams, talks, activities for children, and more!
“We’re blacking out CHOP … the viral death of black bodies was the catalyst for this current movement and we need to make sure we remain focused. This means both policy and systemic change to our systems and healing space for black people.
“So that’s exactly what we’re creating. A series of events in which we center black healing and community.
“What we need from our non-black allies are donations of money and supplies and the willingness to support by quietly protecting sacred space for black healing. We need allies on the outskirts who are willing to be a physical barrier of protection and to peacefully deter potential interruptions.” Read full schedule of events in Facebook event details.
Donations of supplies, funds, and volunteer bodies on the ground at the event are requested from the organizers. Read event details for more on this and donate funds here.
Time: 8 a.m.–8 p.m. Where: CHOP — 1635 11th Ave (Cal Anderson Park) Cost: Free to attend
In a show of worker power, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) will shut down all twenty-nine West Coast ports for eight hours on Friday, June 19 in celebration of Juneteenth, standing in solidarity against police violence and calling for an end to white supremacy. Juneteenth originated in Texas, where slaves were not freed until 1865, more than two years after the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation was signed. It is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of chattel slavery in the United States. The ILWU action follows on the heels of a June 9 action in which the East and West Coast longshore workers stopped working and took an eight-minute, forty-six second moment of silence to coincide with the funeral of George Floyd in Houston. The work stoppage was also to honor Breonna Taylor and all victims of police repression. Continue reading Longshore Union to Shut Down all West Coast Ports on Juneteenth→
When rapper Dumi Maraire, also known by his stage name Draze, dropped a video for his song “Building Black Wealth” back in February, the world was a different place. COVID-19 hadn’t yet pushed us into three months of quarantine, 33 million Americans still had their jobs, and George Floyd was still alive.
“I put out the song right before COVID hit,” Draze tells me. “It was supposed to be the first single from an album I was about to drop, but as soon as COVID hit, I paused the album. It ended up being a blessing in disguise because the video is now at 2 million views [on Facebook] and it sparked the movement.”
Seattle’s DeCharlene Williams started the local Juneteenth Celebration at Pratt Park 36 years ago, at a time when few people outside of Texas knew what Juneteenth was. Juneteenth or Freedom Day celebrates the anniversary of the date the last enslaved people in the United States were freed. Although the Emancipation Proclamation, came into effect on January 1, 1863, the more than 200,000 enslaved people in Texas weren’t notified until June 19, 1865 when the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas, and informed the people of Texas that “all slaves are free.”