As the warm, summertime weather continues to sporadically make its presence known in the Rose City, you know Juneteenth is right around the corner.
Unlike last year, with multiple celebrations on different days, there is only one Juneteenth celebration this year, held from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on June 14 at Jefferson High School. The parade prior to the event starts at 11 a.m. and leaves from the Wells Fargo Bank Walnut Park branch, 5730 N.E. MLK Blvd.
Tisha Stigler, co-chair of the People's Juneteenth Committee, says the celebration is different this year and they are working to get the "sour taste" left by some of the failed celebrations of the past.
"This year's Juneteenth doesn't consist of the same people from years ago," she said. "This is not like it has been."
Juneteenth is the celebration of independence from slavery. On June 19, 1865 Buffalo Soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to inform enslaved people there that they had been technically free … for two and a half years. President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation became law in 1863.
The Oregon celebration was officially begun in 1944 in Portland's Kaiser Shipyards by Clara Peoples. What began as that lunchtime commemoration for freedom is now a large daylong celebration attended by hundreds
This year's celebration will feature an awards ceremony; a hair cutting contest; a fashion show; performances by the World Stage Theatre; live bands; vendors providing food, information about job opportunities and companies' diversity councils. The event will be free for all.
"It's a celebration for the people," said Ora Lee Green, who expects attendance to triple from last year. Green, who has been involved with Juneteenth since 1972, said she hopes that one day the celebration of freedom will be as widely celebrated as other similar freedom holidays such as the Fourth of July and Cinco de Mayo.