All THS locations will be closed on Monday, June 19 in observance of Juneteenth.
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Observing this holiday has been a THS tradition for over 20 years.
The U.S. now officially recognizes Juneteenth as a national holiday. Just days before the celebrations in June 2021, President Biden signed a bill passed by the House and Senate making it official. “All Americans can feel the power of this day and learn from our history,” said President Biden at the signing ceremony. The legislation came on the heels of corporate giants Twitter, Square, Nike, Lyft, Quicken Loans the NFL, Apple and others, leading a trend of companies making Juneteenth a day off for their employees.
From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond. It was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.
Today, Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future.
Juneteenth is one more way for people in cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions to join together in truthfully acknowledging a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society.
Here are some events for those looking to celebrate Juneteenth in Seattle this year!
- Atlantic Street Center’s 22nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration What? This family friendly event includes food, music, lawn games, community resources for families, opportunities to shop from black-owned businesses and more. Where? Rainier Beach Community Center When? Saturday, June 17th 11am – 3pm Cost? Free!
- SDOT Black Employees Association Presents: Juneteenth Event What? This event will feature food trucks, the Mayor’s address, live music from Lady A And The Fellas, and more! Where? Seward Park, Seattle When? Monday, June 19th 11am-7pm Cost? Free!
- The Songs of Black Folk What? An evening of musical performances with genres including blues, gospel, jazz, R&B, and more. This event aims to use music to educate and reflect on the struggles of the African American community’s struggle for freedom and justice. Where? Paramount Theater When? Sunday, June 18th 7pm Cost? $30-75
- Revival: Juneteeth Pop-Up Market What? This outdoor market will feature Black retailers selling items such as clothing, handmade goods, plants, and art. There will also be a variety of food vendors selling things like baked goods, soul food, desserts, and more. Where? 2301 E Union Street When? Sunday, June 18th 12pm – 5pm