Holidays

Ways to Celebrate Juneteenth 2022 in Portland

Juneteenth Oregon 50th Annual Celebration, Freadom Festival, and More
June 14, 2022
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Hear Arietta Ward's rousing rendition of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" at Juneteenth Gresham. (Arietta Ward via Facebook)
Juneteenth (a portmanteau of "June" and "nineteenth") commemorates the 1865 emancipation of Black slaves in the United States. Today, the celebration often includes singing, street fairs, cookouts, and Miss Juneteenth contests. As of this year, Juneteenth is a state-recognized holiday in Oregon, thanks in part to the efforts of the late community organizer Clara Peoples. Also known as the “mother of Juneteenth,” Peoples founded the Juneteenth Oregon celebration 50 years ago, in 1972. Read on for more ways to celebrate the holiday, from Freadom Festival to The History of Black Drag in Portland

COMMUNITY

Juneteenth Freedom Celebration Add to a List
Celebrate the liberation of the last African American slaves in Texas at this community event, which will highlight freedoms such as the freedom to participate in civic engagement, the freedom to celebrate and preserve heritage, and more. Along with a historical display and art installation, vendor booths, and a tabletop gaming area, a packed schedule of performances will run from afternoon until evening, with speeches, DJ sets, gospel performances, and more.
Esther Short Park, Vancouver (Fri June 17)

Juneteenth Gresham Add to a List
East County nonprofit Beyond Black hosts this celebration of freedom, which will be kicked off with a reading of the Juneteenth proclamation by local faith leaders and city officials. R&B vocalist Arietta Ward and her sister Nafasaria will perform a rendition of "Lift Every Voice and Sing," and local abstract impressionist Stanley Williams's original commissioned artwork Freedom will be on display. The rest of the afternoon will be filled with festivities such as mush ball, family walks, info booths, and more.
Vance Park, Rockwood (Sun June 19)

Juneteenth Oregon 50th Annual Celebration Add to a List
Juneteenth Oregon's annual event celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Join grand marshal Chief Sara Boone as she leads a parade down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (Sat June 18). Following the parade, a joyous festival with live music, food, and vendors awaits with featured performers including Jay Electronica, Tahrirah Memory, BridgeCity Soul, Mic Capes, and more.
Lillis-Albina Park, North Portland (June 18-19)

ARTS

Big Yard Studio Add to a List
This annual art fundraiser celebrates Juneteenth with a spotlight on locally and nationally renowned Black artists. It's the perfect night out, with curated art and performances by buzzy names like MOsley WOtta, Derrick Adams, and Isaka Shamsud-Din, plus yummy cocktails and appetizers. It all benefits Big Yard, a local foundation empowering disadvantaged communities through access to literature, recreation, and the arts.
Leftbank Annex, Lloyd District (Fri June 17)

Freadom Festival Add to a List
Presented by the Prose Before Bros book club, the first annual Freadom Festival celebrates Juneteenth with a focus on Black literacy, liberation, and community. The first-of-its-kind festival spotlights literacy's role in the liberation of Black people from slavery in the United States and aims to uplift BIPOC-centered stories. Lit lovers will find a community book swap, talks with local Black writers, book vendors, and a zine-making station, plus good eats from Erica's Soul Food, Drink Mamey, Ghetto Nostalgia, and more. (Bring a tote bag for your book haul.)
Peninsula Park, Piedmont (Sat June 18)

History of Black Drag in Portland: An Evening of Conversation & Performance Add to a List
This evening of conversation and performance celebrates Juneteenth, Pride, and the history of Black drag in Portland with a discussion panel featuring drag greats Lawanda Jackson, Cicely, Maria Peters Lake, and Sheniqua Volt, plus dazzling drag performances by Coco Jem Holiday and Nay-Nay Leakes Cartier. DJ No.Bi.Es will set the mood.
McMenamins Kennedy School, Concordia (Thurs June 16)

Juneteenth Oregon & Last Laugh Sunday Presents Slink Johnson Add to a List
This laugh-tastic event will kick off Juneteenth Oregon's 50th Annual Celebration, bringing rapper, actor, and comedian Slink Johnson to the Alberta Abbey stage. Local comedian Daja Monae will host the evening, with special guests F.I.Y.A, Too Turnt Gang, Imani Kent, and more scheduled to make appearances.
Alberta Abbey, King (Fri June 17)

Walking Through Portland With A Panther: the Life of Mr. Kent Ford Add to a List
Don Wilson Glenn's solo play honors the legacy of Kent Ford, a renowned Black Panther Party member who co-founded Portland's chapter of the '60s-era Black empowerment organization. The play offers important cultural context for the neighborhoods in which we live—incorporating archival footage and storytelling, Walking Through Portland With A Panther helps audiences rediscover the lost history of Panthers in the area and their crucial activism. If you want to meet Ford face-to-face, you just might be able to—at 79, he still offers occasional walking tours in Northeast Portland.
Portland Playhouse, King (June 16-26)

LIVE MUSIC

DG3: Darrell Grant's Juneteenth Celebration to Benefit Black United Fund Add to a List
Join acclaimed composer and pianist Darrell Grant this Juneteenth for the debut of his new trio, DG3, which weaves together classic and contemporary jazz, African rhythms, soul-infused grooves, and reimagined pop hits. All proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Black United Fund of Oregon.
The 1905, Boise (Sun June 19)

Juneteenth Celebration Concert with Eldon T Jones & LaRhonda Steele Add to a List
Powerhouse vocalist and Oregon Music Hall of Fame inductee LaRhonda Steele will team up with saxophonist Eldon T Jones for a Juneteenth celebration that aims to "evoke the joy of emancipation" with a surprise set of songs from the African American songbook.
Alberta Rose Theatre, Concordia (Sat June 18)

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