Juneteenth (June 19th) is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger announced General Order NO. 3 to the people of Galveston, Texas: “The people are informed that in accordance with the Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” More than 250,000 enslaved Black people in Texas learned they were free for the first time in that moment.
The following year, the first Juneteenth celebration took place in Texas, and Black Americans have celebrated June 19th as their Independence Day ever since. However, this is the first year our country, state, and the University of Washington (UW) are celebrating Juneteenth as a holiday.
Various Juneteenth Celebrations will be taking place around the UW and Harborview Medical Center including the following:
- Flag-Raising Ceremony – the University of Washington will raise the Juneteenth flag at Noon on Wednesday, June 15th. Join us outside for this event if you are available. Because we can only display one flag at a time, the Pride flag will be lowered and then raised again after the Juneteenth holiday for the rest of the month.
- Festive Foods – Juneteenth is often celebrated by Black Americans with family gatherings and festive meals. In her culinary reflection, Vanessa Gray-Douglas, Harborview’s executive chef, describes the traditional holiday foods and beverages. She also explains why the color red is featured so prominently on Juneteenth menus.
- Harborview Meal Deals – Our food services team has created special menus for our meal deals on Friday, June 17th and Sunday, June 19th. In addition, Red Velvet Cupcakes will be offered as a dessert choice on Friday and over the weekend.
- Learn More – The UW Combined Fund Drive has compiled resources to help you learn more about the history and significance of Juneteenth. These resources include information about local events and member organizations that are working to remove systemic barriers to Black opportunity in our community. For more information, visit: Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom.
Local Events & Activities: