Friday is Juneteenth, the annual commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. This year, June 19 arrives amid historic anti-racism protests, a surge in support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and renewed efforts to reform and demilitarize policing in this country. Union members are urged to participate in the following celebrations, actions and events.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) is celebrating Juneteenth by shutting down all 29 West Coast ports. Every port from Bellingham to San Diego will be shut down during the day shift in observance of Juneteenth on Friday.
“On June 19, ILWU workers and their local unions up and down the West Coast will take action to reject racism, hate, and intolerance at this unprecedented moment in history,” reads a statement from the ILWU. “As we stop work on Juneteenth, we do so in honor of our African American brothers and sisters and in recognition of the fact that we still have much to achieve as a society in order to carry out the promise of freedom in this country. On Juneteenth, we recommit ourselves to that promise.”
In Seattle, the ILWU is teaming up with APRI Seattle to host a Rally and March to Stop Police Brutality and End Systematic Racism. The event will begin at 9 a.m. at the ILWU Local 19 Union Hall, 3440 E Marginal Way S. (corner of Spokane and East Marginal). Longshore workers will march or car caravan with other local labor, community and faith leaders, to Seattle’s Terminal 46, 401 Alaskan Way, and then they will march/caravan to the Reynolds Work Release facility, 410 4th Ave., to demand human rights and COVID protections for prisoners. Get details.
The Racial Justice Committee of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO will host a Juneteenth Lunch and Learn event, live on the WSLC’s Facebook page from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. WSLC Secretary Treasurer April Sims and other Black labor leaders will review the history and significance of Juneteenth, and discuss the role of organized labor in fighting for racial justice. All are invited to join this Facebook Live event to celebrate abd uplift the work of Black folks in the union movement. Get details.
Other Juneteenth celebrations hosted by labor allies and community partners include:
SEATTLE — Juneteenth March for Justice & Equality begins at 10 a.m. at Woodland Park. Get details.
SEATTLE — Juneteenth March & People’s Assembly begins at 3 p.m. at 23rd & Union. Get details.
TACOMA — Tacoma ILWU and other union members will be joining the “Stop Killing Us!” March beginning at noon at Wapato Park, 6500 S. Sheridan Ave. and the Juneteenth Celebration starting at 3 p.m. at Wright’s Park, 501 S “I” St. in Tacoma. There will be guest speakers, spoken word, food, music, voter registration, and social distancing. Get details.
Check your local newspapers’ website for more events around Washington state.