On June 19, several Juneteenth events have been long planned prior to President Joe Biden’s signature confirming Congress' vote earlier this week recognizing it as an official holiday.
While the celebration is not new, its recognition as a national holiday was years in the making. “When we talk about Juneteenth, it does not represent African-Americans’ first march towards freedom,” Javoen Byrd, the Executive Director for Hawk Foundation for Research and Education in African Culture said. Rather, he explained that “Juneteenth represents when the U.S. government looked at itself and said “enough is enough.”
In Lacey, The CARE Wellness Center, a new organization seeking to start a spiritual retreat, will host an informal Juneteenth Jubilee at Lacey’s Rainier Vista Park (see map) from 2 to 4 p.m. According to one of the event organizers, Dee Dee Anderson, they have prepared outdoor games and sports that residents can safely participate in. Moreover, they will also hold a demonstration where people can watch from a safe distance.
The event organizers also urge residents to wear masks and observe social distancing. In addition, they will also provide gloves and hand sanitizers for those who will participate in the activities.
In Tumwater, ASHHO’s Juneteenth Celebration will be held at its new ASSHO Cultural Community Center from 1-5 p.m. The center is located at the former Pellegrinos Event Center, 5757 Littlerock Rd SW, Tumwater, WA 98512. Meals will be served to those who registered in advance. ASHHO’s meals are sold as BOGO – buy one, give one, so for each meal sold the organization donates a meal to people in need.
Olympia will host Omo Africa where the audience can enjoy music and live performances by the Buffalo Soldiers, Ayan Agaulu, and other African-American artists. The event also hosts African-American food vendors across the state.
In addition, Olympia has teamed up with several organizations including the Women of Color in Leadership Movement, the Hawk Foundation for Research and Education in African Culture, and Media Island International to organize the event.