Prosser to celebrate Juneteenth with “History Hour”

PROSSER, Wash. — Experts and storytellers will come together for a Juneteenth celebration to educate people on the history of Washington state’s most recently recognized holiday.

According to a press release issued by Prosser Social Justice, visitors will gather at Prosser’s branch of the Mid-Columbia Library from noon to 1 o’clock p.m. on Saturday, June 19. The public is invited to attend this educational event being held on the branch’s new outdoor stage.

Emcee’d by Mikki Symonds, this event will include a handful of speakers from throughout the community including Maricela Sánchez, Rachel Mercer, Cliff Gamble, and Blake Slonecker.

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Prosser Social Justice is a team of dedicated activists whose mission is “Creating community involvement and awareness to ensure a more equitable Prosser.”

Juneteenth commemorates the events of June 19, 1865. On that date, federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take control of the state and free the remainder of the nation’s slaves. President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation two and a half years prior, but Confederate states failed to recognize it during the Civil War, which concluded roughly two months before the first celebration of Juneteenth.

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Widely considered the longest-running African-American holiday, Juneteenth honors the end of slavery in the United States of America.

In 2007, the Legislature designated Juneteenth as a day of remembrance. South Dakota and Hawaii are the only other states that don’t have some sort of official observance of the holiday. The Washington state Legislature passed a measure that makes Juneteenth a legal state holiday on April 9.

During the most recent Washington state legislative session, lawmakers motioned to deem Juneteenth a legal state-paid holiday, starting in 2022

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