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Celebrate Juneteenth at these labor events

SEATTLE (June 14, 2022) — Juneteenth, an annual commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States after the Civil War, has been celebrated by Black Americans since the late 1800s. But this year for the first time, the holiday — which fall on Sunday, June 19 — is both a federal and Washington state holiday.

Last year, President Joe Biden signed legislation establishing the new federal holiday and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed HB 1016 sponsored by Rep. Melanie Morgan (D-Parkland) making Juneteenth a legal state paid holiday, starting this year. (The Legislature had previously designated Juneteenth as a day of remembrance.) Because it falls on a Sunday this year, Monday, June 20 will be a paid holiday for Washington state employees and many private-sector workers at a growing number of companies.

But it’s not just another holiday, it’s a day that all working people should celebrate and reflect upon.

“Juneteenth is a day of profound meaning to Black workers, as it should be to all working people who cherish and defend the freedom to live our own lives, speak with our own voices and enjoy the fruits of our labor,” said the late AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Juneteenth reminds us that we are independent of those who hire us, who seek to control us and who view us as objects with costs instead of as human beings with inherent dignity and worth.”

Following are some of the events that union organizations have planned to recognize and celebrate Juneteenth in Washington state:

FRIDAY, JUNE 17 — The Pacific NW chapter of the Teamsters National Black Caucus will host a Juneteenth Celebration Lunch and Learn via Zoom on Friday from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday. Click here to join the event.

FRIDAY, JUNE 17 — The Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action (PSARA) will host “Say It Louder: We’re Emancipated and Proud,” its annual Juneteenth celebration, on Friday at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. This will be an evening of spoken word, song, poetry and historical accounts centered on Juneteenth hosted by Jaye Ware and featuring Christine Robinson, Rodney Moseley and Sam Collins. Get details or register here to join.

SATURDAY, JUNE 18 — The Pacific NW chapter of the Teamsters National Black Caucus invites all to an fun evening of blackjack, poker, roulette and craps at its Casino Night fundraiser at the Teamsters Hall, 14675 Interurban Ave S. in Tukwila, on Saturday from 8 p.m. to midnight. Tickets are $60. Get details.

SUNDAY, JUNE 19 — The Tacoma chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, the AFL-CIO’s oldest civil rights group, invites everyone to the APRI Tacoma Juneteenth Celebration on Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m. at 4819 S. 12th St. in Tacoma. This family fun event will include table games, field games, food trucks and an outdoor family movie with popcorn (BYO chair or blanket). Get details.

MONDAY, JUNE 20 — The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the A. Philip Randolph Institute will host their 3rd Annual Juneteenth March & Rally starting at 11 a.m. Monday from the ILWU Local 19 Hall, 3440 E Marginal Way S. in Seattle to the main truck entrance of Terminal 46 at Alaskan Way S. and S. Atlantic St. WSLC President Larry Brown will be among the speakers. Get details.

In addition to those union-organized events in Washington, many communities around the state are planning Juneteenth celebrations and commemorations. Events are planned in Thursday in Olympia (with Gov. Jay Inslee and Rep. Melanie Morgan); Friday through Sunday in Spokane; Friday in Port Townsend and Vancouver; Saturday in Bellingham, Bremerton, Federal Way, Kent, Lacey, SeattleSnohomish and Tacoma; and Sunday in Bainbridge Island, Edmonds, Olympia, Seattle’s Rainier Beach and Renton. Check your local newspapers and news sources for more.

Also, the Washington Poor People’s Campaign urges all to join the livestream of the Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington, D.C. and to the Polls starting at 7 a.m. Pacific on Saturday, June 18. RSVP and get more information here.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!