Here’s Where to Celebrate Juneteenth in Portland
The last couple of years have brought on a slew of mainstream attention to Juneteenth. So much so, as of 2021, the day has been deemed a national holiday, with many workers getting the day off. The timeline of Juneteenth actually dates back two years before 1865, in 1863–when the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. While that day was marked the end of slavery in the US, in didn’t go into effect right away for many Confederate states. In Kentucky, for example, enslaved black people learned of their freedom on August 8, 1863, thus many African Americans observe August 8 as their day of independence. Almost two years later, in Texas–Galveston Bay to be exact–Union troops rode in with the same announcement. Two. Years. Later.
Fast forward to 2020, the holiday received a hefty national push following the outcry of racial injustice brought on by the police killings of Black Americans including Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Now, the build-up to the holiday is filled with marketing campaigns, panels, presentations, block parties, and more.
Looking to celebrate this year? Here’s a look at where and how you can commemorate the holiday in Portland.
The History of Black Drag in Portland
7 P.M. THU, JUNE 16| McMenamins Kennedy School, $25
Featuring a panel of Black drag artists from Portland’s past and present, plus performances from Coco Jem Holiday, Alexis Campbell Starr, and Nay Nay Leakes Cartier, this event—timed to the weekend of Juneteenth—combines conversation, education, and fun. What’s not to love?
Juneteenth Oregon Parade and Festival
11 A.M. SAT–SUN, JUNE 18–19 | Lillis-Albina Park
This year, Juneteenth Oregon is celebrating their 50th anniversary with two-days filled with community activities. On Saturday, start the day with a parade with Chief Sara Boone of Portland Fire & Rescue serving as the grand marshal–and finish the day at a festival filled with a live music performances from artists like Jay Electronica. The festival, which includes food and shopping vendors, continues on Sunday, with live performances from Portland's Tahirah Memory and saxophonist Mike Phillips.
Juneteenth Makers Marketplace
11 A.M. SAT, JUNE 18 | Honey Latte Café, 1033 SE Main St, FREE
The Vend Again Marketplace, a Black-owned, woman-owned function, is kicking off its 2022 event season with a Juneteenth Makers Marketplace. Located at Honey Latte Café in Southeast Portland, the marketplace with feature a slew of local small businesses showcasing their goods.
The Freadom Festival
NOON SAT, JUNE 18 | Peninsula Park, FREE
Book lovers rejoice! The Freadom Festival (we see what they did there), Portland's first Black book festival, will feature a book swap, a book drive for Portland prisoners, library card sign-ups, and more. Event partner Third Eye Bookstore, the city's first black-owned bookstore, will also be celebrating the one-year anniversary of the reopening of its brick and mortar.
JUNETEENTH Power to the People: Black Panther Party Legacy Tour of Albina
11 A.M. SUN, JUNE 19 | Matt Dishman Community Center, pay-what-you-will to $40 suggested
Hosted by the Vanport Mosaic, the Juneteenth Power to the People: Black Panther Party Legacy Tour of Albina is a walking tour of the historic Albina district with an emphasis on the Black Panther Party legacy. The one-and-a-half-hour tour will begin at the Matt Dishman Community Center and end at the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods. Tickets for the event are available on a donation basis, with a suggested $40. Proceeds from the tour will go towards medical and legal expenses for those shot at Normandale Park.
Juneteenth Health Fair
NOON SUN, JUNE 19 | WATTLES BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB, FREE
As a joint celebration of Father's Day and Juneteenth, the Wattles Boys and Girls Club is hosting a community health fair with music, food, health services—including vaccinations, and prizes.
Black Liberation Ride
3 P.M. SUN, JUNE 19 | IRVING PARK, FREE
The seventh annual Black Liberation Ride is a chance for members of the Black and Brown community to come together to take a spin around Portland in celebration of the holiday. All ride levels are welcomed, and the event is kid friendly. Those interested should meet near the dog park at Irving Park at 2:30 and be ready to take off at 3.