‘Progress, not victory’ Juneteenth Flag Raising


EVERETT June 18: Snohomish County leaders and community members gathered to witness the third annual flag raising in Snohomish County in recognition of Juneteenth.

Juneteenth National Independence Day also calledJuneteenth”,Freedom Day”, andEmancipation Dayis a day marking the end of slavery in the United States.

In 2022, the Snohomish County Council proclaimed June 19 as Juneteenth Independence Day. The county was the first in Washington state to officially fly the Juneteenth flag after unanimously approving the proclamation.

“Juneteenth is a day for all Snohomish County residents to reflect on the horrors of slavery, to acknowledge the evils of hate, racism, violence, discrimination, and injustice; and to commit to being unwavering allies to Black and African American people living, working, and playing in our community,the proclamation reads.

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, Superior Court Judge Edirin Okoloko and Council Chair Jared Mead were some of the speakers at the event.

“Today we reflect on the meaning of Juneteenth and the resiliency of those who came before us, who came in chains,Okoloko said,Equality begins in seeing the humanity in others.”

Other speakers included Rep. Rick Larsen, State Rep. April Berg, and Mountlake Terrace Councilmember Steve Woodard.

Larsen said that there is still work to be done to address racism specifically in housing and in schools. He mentioned current debates in Congress regarding Confederate symbols and the recent removal of the controversial Arlington monument.

Berg quoted former President Barack Obama’s speech about how Juneteenth is not a victory. It is a celebration of progress, Berg said.

Kevin Henry with the Snohomish County NAACP and DanVonique Reed with the Snohomish County Black Heritage Committee also spoke.

Henry encouraged the audience to examine how people respond to media about Juneteenth and Pride.

“I find it so amazing how people get so angry about celebrating the race of people…that people want to celebrate freedom,Henry said.

Avery’s Chicken and Waffles, a local Black-owned business provided lunch.

Customer ordering from Avery’s Chicken and Waffles, June 18, 2024.

A resource fair with booths from the Office of Social Justice, Human Resources, Health Department, WSU Extension, and Office of the Public Advocate were present.

In recognition of the National holiday, all county offices will be closed on June 19.

“We can’t do everything, but do something,Reed said.It isn’t just Black history; it is American History.”