The city of Langley is planning its first annual observance of Juneteenth.
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It derives its name from June 19, 1866, which is when the last enslaved people in the nation received the news of their freedom. The news was received two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
Langley’s citizen-led Dismantling Systemic Racism Committee recommended that the city declare Juneteenth as a holiday. Since June 19 falls on a Sunday this year, the city will observe the holiday on June 20.
A gathering is planned for 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 16 in Langley Park, which is located near the intersection of Second Street and Anthes Avenue. A short program will commence around 1 p.m. Councilmember Craig Cyr, Mayor Scott Chaplin, Police Chief Tavier Wasser and Rev. Ezekiel Tennet will all speak.
A proclamation will be announced by the mayor and several lived experience speeches will be heard from African American residents of South Whidbey.
For residents who want to learn more about the holiday, the Langley Library has prepared a display of educational materials that are available for viewing.