Seattle-area organizations hold weekend Juneteenth events honoring historic holiday

The first "Juneteenth: More Than a Day" event started with the reading of a proclamation from the Mountlake Terrace mayor. 

"I, Mayor Matsumoto, write on behalf of the city council hereby proclaim June 19th as Juneteenth Independence Day," a speaker at the event read. 

The Juneteenth event honored the freeing of the last of the slaves in Galveston, Texas, in 1865. 

"It’s American history, not just African American history, and it’s something that’s near and dear to my heart," Library Manager Isaac Harrison said.

Harrison helped spearhead Saturday’s event with the support of the city and Mountlake Terrace Library. 

"My family is also from Texas, I also have family that was present at one of General Gordon’s stops when he was announcing to the slaves that slavery had ended," Harrison said. "So, it’s always been important for me, I’ve celebrated my entire life."


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Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19, commemorates the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in the United States learned of their freedom.

Lois Langer Thompson, executive director for Sno-Isle Libraries, was among the speakers. 

"I think it’s such an important part of our history and it’s a great day to come together and celebrate our Black and African communities and what freedom means to all of us," Thompson said. "I think this is a part of our history that was sometimes overlooked while growing up, in my growing up I did not learn about Juneteenth and I think it’s really exciting to come together."  

After, the crowd moved inside for panels, involving dignitaries, educators, and even high school students. At the Northwest African American Museum, the weather forced organizers to postpone its annual Juneteenth skate party, but the celebration continued indoors.

Visitors enjoyed free admission, music and food, and that’s just this weekend. Founder and owner of nonprofit Food Intentions Brandon Morales is gearing up to run 100 miles for a Juneteenth run. 

"I decided to do it on Juneteenth because half of my mission is to support Black-owned restaurants," Morales said. 

It’s a mission he started in December 2020. 

"I launched it while the Black Lives Matter movement was very prominent and it certainly caught my attention and I wanted to do something about it," he said.

Morales tells FOX 13 he and his brother will start the run Tuesday morning. They anticipate it’ll take about 24 hours to run 100 miles.

"If there is anyone out there who wants to run, whether it’s for a minute, five minutes, or 100 miles, feel free to join us," Morales said.

If you want to participate or donate to the cause, Morales said you can reach out to him directly. You can find out how to contact him on his website.


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