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Seattle Turns Out for Juneteenth Celebrations

by Patheresa Wells

Sunday, June 19, Seattleites participated in Juneteenth events across the city. The holiday has long been celebrated throughout the country, especially among African Americans, though it was not formally recognized as a federal holiday until last year. While often thought of in conjunction with the Emancipation Proclamation freeing enslaved people in 1863, many would not receive news of their freedom until later. Those in Galveston, Texas, did not receive word of emancipation until June 19, 1865, more than two years after the 13th Amendment abolished slavery. Juneteenth started as a way for those enslaved in the Galveston area to celebrate that freedom had finally reached them.

The retirement of Juneteenth spread throughout the United States among African American communities. The events held Sunday in Seattle prove the holiday is both a time of reflection on how long it took for freedom to come and a recognition that the resilience of those enslaved and their ancestors is worth honoring.

Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) held a Skate Party at Judkins Park that included complimentary skate rental, local Black-owned vendors and food trucks, music, and many family-friendly activities. The roller-skating area was full of people vibing to the DJs, laughing, and exuding Black joy.

Patheresa Wells is a Queer poet, writer, and storyteller who lives in SeaTac, Washington. Born to a Black mother and Persian father, her experiences of her as a multicultural child shaped her desire to advocate for and amplify her community of her. She currently attends Highline College in Des Moines. Follow her on Twitter @PatheresaWells.

📸 Featured Image: The crowd dances to “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” during the Africatown Juneteenth Festival, June 19, 2022, at Jimi Hendrix Park. (Photo: Susan Fried)

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