Juneteenth (a portmanteau of "June" and "nineteenth") is a holiday commemorating the 1865 emancipation of Black slaves in the United States. Today, the celebration often includes singing, street fairs, cookouts, and Miss Juneteenth contests. (Speaking of which, have you seen Miss Juneteenth yet?)
Activists have long campaigned for the recognition of Juneteenth as a national holiday, and they finally gained traction last year at the peak of the Black Lives Matter protests that followed the murder of George Floyd. Recently, the Oregon Senate unanimously agreed to officially recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday. The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Kate Brown and will go into effect in 2022.
We’ve rounded up ways to observe the holiday this year, from Oregon’s flagship Juneteenth event to a market where you can support Black creatives and makers.
Events are online unless otherwise noted.
SATURDAY, JUNE 12
Multnomah County Library Juneteenth 2021
MCL and Multnomah County’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) are partnering on this event, which will kick off by outlining the history of the holiday and reflecting on the current state of the country. Cooking and gardening demonstrations, a presentation of African fabrics, and more will follow.
JUNE 14-15 & 17
Juneteenth Week of Service
Community action organizations Don’t Shoot PDX and Our Streets Portland are co-hosting a series of events in honor of the holiday. The lineup includes working on a community garden, a "Trash Dash" to clean up the community, and distributing hygiene products and meals to houseless people.
SATURDAY, JUNE 19
Celebration of Black Lives
Join the Big Yard Foundation for a one-and-a-half-mile march through Portland’s historically Black neighborhoods from Peninsula Park to King School Park, where they will celebrate Juneteenth with speeches, food, music, and more.
King School Park, Northeast
2021 Juneteenth Oregon Celebration
Produced by PDX Jazz, the 49th annual Juneteenth Oregon celebration will be livestreamed from the Jack London Revue this year. The event will include performances by Amenta Abioto, Parisalexa, and Cool Nutz, and DJ Fatboy, plus special appearances by artist/activist/educator Mic Crenshaw, Governor Kate Brown, and Senator Jeff Merkley.
Juneteenth Teach-In: The Past, Present, and Future of Albina
The Albina neighborhood was home to Portland’s thriving Black community for generations before urban planning the “renewal” initiatives pushed its inhabitants, businesses, and cultural institutions out. Join the Albina Vision Trust in a virtual lecture as they discuss the area’s rich history, present dilemmas, and how to get involved in shaping its future.
Vend Again Juneteenth Makers Market
Black woman-owned Vend Again Marketplace will host its first outdoor market in celebration of Juneteenth at the newly opened Honey Latte Cafe. Peruse unique jewelry, body-care products, and clothing while enjoying good music, food, and raffles.
Honey Latte Cafe, Southeast
Portland’s Black radio station The Numberz and Your Morning Drip present Drip Market, with four blocks of Black vendors offering vintage, resale, food, art, and music. Attendees are invited to join the live broadcast and submit a playlist, and the radio station will have exclusive merch to celebrate Black Music Month.
Produce Portland, Northwest
Beyond Black Presents: Juneteenth Festival
East County nonprofit Beyond Black hosts this celebration of freedom featuring food, vendors, and a live show.
Vance Park, Rockwood
4 The Culture Block Party
Expect food, a DJ, artists, and plenty of vendors at this block party celebrating Juneteenth and Black culture. The Billy Webb Elks Lodge is a historic landmark within Portland’s African American community, and proceeds from the market will benefit the venue’s much needed renovations.
Billy Webb Elks Lodge, North
Juneteenth BIPOC Skate Hang
Celebrate freedom with Brown Girl Rise and Rose City Rollers at this skate sesh promoting Black and Brown joy. Free skate rentals are available for BIPOC youth ages 7-17, and a meal and snacks will be provided.
Gateway Discovery Park, Northeast
Juneteenth - Celebrate Freedom
The City of Lake Oswego and community group Respond to Racism (RTR) will present this afternoon program with remarks by RTR president Willie Poinsette, Lake Oswego Mayor Joe Buck, and city council member Massene Mboup, with a keynote by community activist Antoinette Edwards. Event-goers will also be treated to the stylings of DJ Denmark, music by Randal Wyatt, Conscious Ave, Julianne Johnson-Weiss, and Alex Addy, and poetry by the RTR Youth Empowerment Committee. The event will also provide an open-mic space and kids' activities.
Millennium Plaza City Park, Lake Oswego
Juneteenth Pride Party
This queer dance party featuring BIPOC performers and allies will be presented by nonprofit Sweethearts of Portland and hosted by Miss Sweetheart 29 and Flawless Shade. The event will have ASL interpretation and proceeds will go to Brown Hope in support of the Black Resilience Fund.
Local Lounge, Northeast
Juneteenth 2021 Film Fest
Albina Vision Trust is hosting a film festival highlighting the Black community in Portland at two evening screenings. The program will also be available as a free livestream. From the organizers: “Portland Juneteenth is credited to Clara Peoples, the ‘Mother of Juneteenth,’ who started larger celebrations in 1945 while working at the Kaiser shipyard.”
Benton Lot, North
SATURDAY, JUNE 26
Zenger Farms 3rd Annual Juneteenth Celebration
Zenger Farm’s third annual Juneteenth Celebration is centered around sharing and uplifting Black voices, stories, and food traditions. The event will include delicious vegan food by Earthly Gourmet and Tofurky, fresh hibiscus tea beverages (bissap) from Hibisbloom, storytime for children, and food history with chef Rachelle Dixon. Multiple activity stations such as DIY bath salt- and scrub-making, herb and veggie taste-testing, and Black history activity cards will keep families busy. The pilot program Portland Street Response will table at the event.
Zenger Farm, Southeast
Community Chef Dinner Series: Juneteenth with Chef Rachelle Dixon
Chef Rachelle Dixon will create a multi-course vegan dinner for the first installment of this Zenger Farm series. Dinner packs will be available for pickup and serve two people—they include a bottle of local wine, Divine Chocolate, a hand-thrown ceramic bowl by Reed College art students, and additional treats and gourmet food items. Diners will be able to watch a video to learn about Juneteenth and hear more about chef Rachelle’s meal, all proceeds from which will support the work of Zenger’s food justice programs.
Zenger Farm, Southeast