Juneteenth march, festival June 17 in Bremerton

Juneteenth Freedom Festival 2023 will take place June 17 in Rotary Evergreen Park, preceded by a People’s March from downtown Bremerton.

This free annual community-planned event commemorates “Juneteenth,” or June 19, 1865, the day that slavery in the United States ended, over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.

Community members will gather to honor that historic step of liberation, to celebrate Black culture and to recognize the work for equity and justice that still lies ahead.

The march will show unity and promote healing. It starts at 10 a.m. on the 5th Street stairs. There will be a spot in the march for fathers in honor of Father’s Day. All others will fall in behind. The march will make its way north on Pacific Avenue, turn left onto Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, right onto Park Avenue and then right onto 14th Street.

The event features activities for all ages, educational and health resources from community groups and nonprofits and a free cookout. Entertainment includes a performance by the Bremerton Youth Jazz Ensemble.

The festival will also host the 8th Annual Latricia Mathis Walk 4 Sickle Cell. For details contact Carol Riley-Wilkerson at lovedalord@hotmail.com.

The event is paid for by local government, businesses, nonprofits and donors. The festival is a collaborative effort, organized by a local community planning crew, convened by Akuyea Karen Vargas, director of Living Arts Cultural Heritage and Living Life Leadership.