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Gov. Tina Kotek at the Willamette Heritage Center on June 19, 2024 (Photo: Office of Governor Tina Kotek)
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 20 June 2024

Today, Governor Tina Kotek issued a proclamation honoring June 19, 2024 as Juneteenth across Oregon. Governor Kotek also joined Oregon Black Pioneers, Just Walk Salem Keizer and the Willamette Heritage Center for their annual Juneteenth In Freedom’s Footsteps Walk. 

“On Juneteenth, we remember our history and honor the resilience of the Black community,” Kotek said. “We must continue to work to end racial injustice and ensure equity, inclusion and opportunity for Black Oregonians. It was wonderful to join Oregon Black Pioneers and the Willamette Heritage Center for their Salem Juneteenth Community History Walk honoring Rev. Daniel Jones, an unwavering leader in Oregon.” 

"Juneteenth is like a second Fourth of July for Black Americans," said Zachary Stocks, executive director of Oregon Black Pioneers. "It's a day for us to remember our enslaved ancestors, and to celebrate the anniversary of when freedom came to Black people nationwide." 

The Willamette Heritage Center, Oregon Black Pioneers and Just Walk Salem Keizer host an annual community history walking tour to celebrate the Juneteenth Holiday. The vision for this event, which started in 2023, was to bring people together to walk as a community and follow in the footsteps of local families whose lives were impacted by slavery and emancipation. The walk tells these families’ stories by visiting the physical locations in which they lived, worked, worshiped and commemorated the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation. 

This year’s walk honored the life and legacy of the Rev. Daniel Jones, who was born in 1830 in Reading, Pennsylvania to a father who had escaped his enslavers in Maryland. Jones eventually made his way to Jacksonville, Oregon, and met and married his wife Ann. The family relocated to Salem, where he somehow found time to run a barbershop, attend Willamette University’s college preparatory school, help found a school, become ordained and plant a church. When he was transferred by the church to New Jersey and Kentucky, he continued to represent Oregon, becoming its delegate to several national Civil Rights conferences. 

A map of the locations from the walk and additional information can be found here

A copy of the proclamation is linked here.

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