M’ville Juneteenth helps community come together

Black locals and other community members gathered in Marysville for a Juneteenth kick-off event to commemorate the holiday on June 11.

This is the second annual Marysville Juneteenth event hosted by nonprofit organization Change the Narrative.

“We’re just looking to get the community together and have discussion on BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and People of Color] solidarity,” said Michael Adams, executive director of Change the Narrative and one of the main organizers of the event.

The day is a celebration of the emancipation of slaves and the Marysville event was held a week before the official date, June 19.

“Juneteenth is also known as ‘Freedom Day,’” said Adams. “It is the day when news was given to the last slaves in the state of Texas that the Civil War was over and they were going to be freed.”

The holiday has been getting more attention in recent years.

“This is something to raise more awareness around Juneteenth, especially now that it is a state and federal holiday but a lot of people still don’t know about it,” said Adams.

Speakers from the Marysville School District and city of Marysville talked at the event and various community organizations had booths at the event.

“We have some different organizations that we partner with, like the Sno-Isle Libraries who will have their bookmobile here that will highlight some Black artists and books from Black authors,” said Adams.

Activities for kids were also available and a silent auction with a superhero art theme was held as well.

“We wanted to talk about the analogies of being a hero, and what does that mean in terms of character and being a productive member of society,” said Adams.

Black community members from around the county came to visit the event, such as Junelle Lewis, who organizes Monroe’s Juneteenth event and is from that area.

“I wanted to come and bring my children because I think these types of events are important not only to meet people but also to see more of themselves and just to celebrate the culture,” said Lewis. “Unfortunately, demographically, in Marysville, Monroe and Snohomish the African-American population is not that large so I think when we do have events like this it is important to be a part of them.”

Kiyomi King hopes the event continues in the future.

“I think that we really have to find events like this in order to find each other unfortunately. I hope that the city makes it bigger and greater and that it’s promoted even more,” she said.

Chris Anderson, one of the founders of Artists in Activism, a Marysville non-profit that focuses on supporting the BIPOC community, said the event was great.

“Events like these helps reassure the Black community that there is support out here,” he said.

His nonprofit is trying to create a community hub for BIPOC people in Snohomish County.

“We need more spaces like this, it’s limited,” he said. “Once a year is cool, but it is needed in between that time too.”


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