Juneteenth, celebrated June 19, commemorates the freedom of more than 250,000 enslaved people in the state of Texas, over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. The holiday is an important reminder of our country’s legacy of injustice and inequality and an opportunity to support Black culture and accomplishments.
Juneteenth was officially recognized as a federal holiday in 2021. Nyhus also added Juneteenth to our team’s paid holidays in 2021 with the intention of using that time to assess our role in systemic injustice and promote positive change within our communities. This recognition came far too late. Many Black Americans have celebrated Juneteenth, whether in public or privately, for more than 150 years. Racial inequality is still pervasive in the United States, and there are vital questions to consider about the nature of freedom in our country. The fight for freedom is ongoing.
By celebrating Juneteenth, Nyhus honors the remarkable contributions of Black Americans and pledges to use our position to drive racial equity and systemic change.
We’ve compiled a few resources about the history of Juneteenth and opportunities to celebrate with our local community. We hope you’ll join us in continuing to support Black Americans and the enduring fight for a more equitable future.
Find an overview of The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Learn more about the courage and perseverance of the “grandmother of Juneteenth,” Opal (Blake) Lee with BlackPast.org.
The New York Times has published several articles about the history and celebration of Juneteenth in recent years, including Juneteenth: The History of a New Holiday , How we Juneteenth, What Does it Mean to be Crowned ‘Miss Juneteenth’? and others.
If you’re looking for resources for a younger audience, The Root put together a list of 7 Books to Help Teach Kids About Juneteenth.
For an audio option, check out The Daily’s podcast on The History and Meaning of Juneteenth from 2020.
Happening this Weekend
Find more details about the sponsoring organizations working to uplift Black voices and connect people to vital resources below each event!
● 6 Black comics are coming together for the Laughing (In Black) Comedy Show on June 17 to celebrate Juneteenth! Drink ticket included with ticket purchase.
It Takes A Village AMSA Edition creates opportunities to engage with the Black experience and the diversity of cultures within our communities. They also connect families and youth to services and resources.
● Festival Sundiata Presents Black Arts Fest is a 3-day event at the Seattle Center celebrating the traditional and contemporary art and cultures of people of African descent. The events will feature food, local musicians, youth drill and dance teams, an African dance troupe, Tuskegee Airmen, Buffalo Soldiers, and a marketplace with over 60 vendors.
Sundiata African American Cultural Association produces and promotes this cultural festival every year with the help of over 150 volunteers. Incorporated in 1980, Sundiata is the longest running African American festival in the Pacific Northwest.
● Visit MOHAI on June 18 for Black Love: A Form of Resistance featuring Mr. Delbert Richardson and his National Award-Winning Unspoken Truths exhibition, followed by a storytelling experience honoring emancipation.
Unspoken Truths aims to empower all people through re-education, speaking the truths that have been long silenced and providing opportunities for self-restoration and healing. The foundation offers services for educators and parents, consultations, traveling museum experiences and more.
● LANGSTON is bringing the community together with live music, local artists, food trucks, a COVID-19 vaccination station, and more at We Out Here on the Pier on June 18.
LANGSTON leads community programs and partnerships centering Black art, artists and audiences. They lead programming within the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute to enrich and steward the Black arts community in Seattle.
● Join the Juneteenth & Community Health Fair on June 19 at the Rainier Beach Community Center Plaza with cultural performances, food trucks, vendors and community resources. You can also sign up to volunteer!
Atlantic Street Center serves children and families in need in our region through direct services, like educational support and behavioral health counseling for children, and through social justice advocacy.
● The Northwest African American Museum is hosting a Skate to Freedom Party & Community Day in Judkins Park on June 19. Enjoy complementary skate rental along with a community celebration featuring Black-owned vendors and food trucks, music and more! Check out the full program of NAAM events here, including volunteer opportunities.
The Northwest African American Museum designs programs and online resources to preserve and share African American history.
● Support Black-owned businesses and organizations at the Revival Juneteenth Pop-Up Market on June 19! Capitol Hill EcoDistrict is bringing together Black retailers, food vendors, music and community organizations at Midtown Plaza in the Central District.
Capitol Hill EcoDistrict partners with community stakeholders to create and support initiatives that build environmentally sustainable, diverse and equitable neighborhoods.