‘I’m glad to see Spokane come together’: Community celebrates Juneteenth

SPOKANE, Wash. — Today is the 156th anniversary of Juneteenth, when thousands of slaves were granted freedom in Texas. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863 by President Lincoln, but it took until June 19, 1865 for all slaves to be freed.

This year is also the first year it’s a nationally recognized holiday. Events are going on all weekend to commemorate and celebrate the milestone.

“I’m excited. I’m overjoyed,” said Earon Davis Sr., who celebrated Juneteenth on Saturday at the MLK Center. “I’m glad to see Spokane come together.”

“It’s just good to know that the government makes this a national holiday,” said Lonnie Mitchell, who brought his grandson out to celebrate Juneteenth.

The event at the MLK Center featured black-owned businesses, shopping, food, music, a petting zoo, giveaways, a vaccine clinic and a job fair sponsored by the city.

For many, this new federal holiday will open the doors for conversation with others about the history of slavery.

“When you think about the kids moving forward, they’ll have to think about it,” said Earon Davis Jr.,  who ran the Saving Grace Ministries booth. “They’ll have to talk about this in the history books.”

Mitchell is teaching his grandkids about the history of Juneteenth, and thinks shedding a light on truth from people who experienced segregation and the Civil Rights movement is important. He’s also happy to see all walks of life coming together to celebrate this holiday.

“We know that diversity is our strength,” he said. “When you put those together, this is what you can accomplish.”

Other Juneteenth events are happening on Sunday. You can find a list of other events here.

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