The city of Vancouver and Odyssey World International Educational Services will host a Juneteenth Freedom Celebration in downtown Vancouver’s Esther Short Park from 1 to 7 p.m. June 17. Juneteenth National Independence Day — traditionally celebrated on June 19 — commemorates the day in June 1865 that American soldiers arrived in Texas to free the last African American slaves, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863. Last year, President Joe Biden signed a law making Juneteenth the first new federal holiday since the addition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983. Gov. Jay Inslee signed a measure making Juneteenth a state holiday as well.
Though the Vancouver branch of the NAACP has hosted several Juneteenth celebrations, this is Vancouver’s first large-scale, city-supported Juneteenth event. The day will include remarks from local dignitaries and community representatives as well as art, multicultural music, food trucks, local artisan vendors and games. There is no charge to attend.
For complete details about Vancouver’s Juneteenth Freedom Celebration, visit juneteenthfreedomcelebration.com. Volunteers are still needed and will receive a free T-shirt and snacks; sign up at juneteenthfreedomcelebration.com/volunteers. Additional spaces are available for vendors, food trucks and civic organizations.
To learn more about Odyssey World International Educational Services, visit odysseyworld.org.