On June 19th, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, TX letting the last enslaved people know of their newfound freedom. We honor June 19th as Juneteenth, or Freedom Day.

ORP believes that Juneteenth is not just a day of celebration, but of action. We honor the original Juneteenth through our ongoing pursuit of communities that are more free, more liberated, and more just for all. We believe that Juneteenth in Oregon proclaims our inalienable rights to be included in our state’s collective memory and collective conscious. Our joy, our pain, and our presence are a part of our state identity—that we too possess the ability to claim this state as our home.

Since 2021, ORP has sought to help this holiday grow in communities across Oregon.

Grants Pass Juneteenth 2023 Banner 1 (1)

Coos Bay

In partnership with the Coos History Museum and the City of Coos Bay, ORP helped launch Coos Bay’s inaugural Juneteenth celebration in 2021 during the Alonzo Tucker historical marker unveiling. This date marks a beautiful beginning in the story of Juneteenth in Coos Bay.

A year later, the Coos History Museum continued the celebration of Juneteenth with a three-day event where they unveiled another historical marker about a diverse mining community, Beaver Hill, and allowed African Americans from their community and the surrounding area to showcase their history, tradition, and culture as a part of their renewed effort to tell diverse stories in their local history.

In 2023, after setting the foundation, the Coos History Museum passed off the leadership of the community’s Juneteenth celebration to local Black leaders. Coos Bay’s 2023 celebration featured three events: a keynote address by Taylor Stewart at the Coos History Museum; a family reunion style gathering with music, storytelling, and food from the Black community; and a community viewing of the Disney Pixar film, Soul.

ORP is proud to support Juneteenth in Coos Bay as their celebration continues to inspire communities across the state to make this holiday a part of their community identity.

Oregon City

After being community-lead for two years, Oregon City kicked off their first official celebration of Juneteenth in 2022. In partnership with the Oregon City Library, Taylor Stewart was the featured speaker at Oregon City’s 2022 Juneteenth gathering. Stewart used this newfound day of action to launch the Vanderpool Project in Oregon City.

Under the leadership of the first Black and first female mayor of Oregon City, Denyse McGriff, the community has since grown their summer celebrations of Juneteenth and Pride toward the goal of a community that is more free, more liberated, and more just for all.

Grants Pass

In partnership with Grants Pass Remembrance, ORP helped launch Grants Pass’ inaugural Juneteenth celebration in 2023. This celebration included local Black-owned food trucks, face painting, Juneteenth BINGO, prizes from local business, and fellowship. Participants braved the downpour of rain to come out in support of their Black neighbors and the furtherance of the spirit of a sunrise community. We are excited to see this holiday grow in Grants Pass as we invite more and more folks to join us in celebration.