Juneteenth celebrations planned in Western Washington

SEATTLE — President Biden is expected to sign a bill to make Juneteenth a new federal holiday. On Wednesday, the House followed the Senate’s lead to establish June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day.

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Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered.

The day was designated as a day of remembrance in 2007, and Washington was one of only three states that at one point did not have some sort of official observance.

Now, Juneteenth is slated to be a paid state holiday in Washington starting in 2022.

A number of Juneteenth celebrations are planned for this weekend.

A virtual event honors a Bellevue historian for the Sam Bruce chapter of Tuskeegee Airmen.

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The city of Issaquah is hosting several events Friday and Saturday, and the King County Library System has virtual poetry and art events on Saturday.

The Juneteenth Freedom March is happening Saturday in South Seattle, and in Everett, the Black Hat Society is holding a protest Saturday at Forest Park.

On Friday, the city of Lynnwood is holding an event that includes a drive-through and online presentation.

The Northwest African American Museum in Seattle is hosting a free, nine-day virtual event that includes speakers, exhibits, youth activities and a jamboree.

King County Equity Now is holding a Juneteenth Freedom March and festival at Jimi Hendrix Park in Seattle Saturday.

Find more events at this link.

Despite the pandemic last year, thousands gathered to mark the holiday in our region.

In Seattle, marches went past some significant landmarks of African-American history in the Central District. There were also marches in Ballard and a work stoppage among dockworkers.

Last year, those marches and celebrations resulted in 35,000 people turning out for Seattle’s Juneteenth.