PORTLAND, Ore. — Juneteenth, or June 19, is a federal holiday that commemorates the end of slavery the U.S. President Joe Biden signed a bill Thursday establishing it as the country’s 12th national holiday.
Earlier this month, the Oregon Senate agreed to recognize it as a state holiday starting next year.
Here's what’s happening locally to mark the day:
The nonprofit Juneteenth Oregon has been behind Portland's annual citywide Juneteenth celebration since 1972.
"Every year our celebration is about education. It's about bring the community together. It's about history," said Heather Coleman-Cox with the nonprofit.
In past years, the celebration has included a parade, speakers and musicians outside. But with COVID-19, performances and speeches this year will again be streamed live Saturday with help from PDX Jazz. The livestream will go from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“We miss being out in front of the community and just having that community vibe feeling going throughout the day. However we will try to bring as much of it as we can to the virtual world," said Coleman-Cox.
In addition to the livestream celebration, Portland radio station The Numberz FM will hold a Juneteenth event Saturday in Old Town with vendors, food, art and music.
Nonprofit Albina Vision Trust will be doing a community teach-in event Saturday about the Northeast Portland neighborhood's past, present and future.
For Coleman-Cox, it means a lot to host these events and celebrations in Oregon, which was founded as a whites-only state.
"Here in Oregon it is extra special and important that we celebrate this holiday just to acknowledge that this state has progressed and moved on from that racial initial launch," said Coleman-Cox.