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Juneteenth celebrations to take place all weekend across Southern Oregon and Northern California

 Two ROTC members in camo uniforms raise a Juneteenth flag on a blag flagpole outdoors on a large lawn
Roman Battaglia
Jefferson Public Radio
Two members of SOU's ROTC unit raise the Juneteenth flag in front of Churchill hall on June 15.

Groups across the region are holding celebrations this weekend for the Juneteenth holiday, which celebrates the end of slavery in America in 1865.

A crowd of people gathered at Southern Oregon University in Ashland on Thursday for the second year celebrating Juneteenth.

Ashland City Council Member Gina DuQuenne spoke at SOU’s Juneteenth flag raising on Thursday.

“When I think about the magnitude of courage, resilience, fortitude our ancestors had, it reminds me that we come from the best of the best,” DuQuenne said.

In Ashland, a Juneteenth festival featuring food and entertainment will take place on Sunday at Ashland Creek Park from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The event doubles as a fundraiser for a permanent art installation reflecting on the Black Lives Matter movement.

 A colored sketch of a statue. A Black man wearing sunglasses and an Afro sits cross legged in from of a book. He has a pair of wings covering him.
Micah BlackLight
Ashland Parks & Rec Foundation
A sketch of the permanent art installation in Ashland, designed by local artist Micah BlackLight.

Cassie Preskenis from the Ashland public arts committee described the planned sculpture which will replace the “say their names memorial” in Railroad Park, and includes the names of Black Americans that have been killed in recent years, including Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor.

“It’s a big sculpture of a winged man that has a woman’s face here in the heart,” she said. “And inside of the wings there’s a big tome book that’s gonna have all the names that are currently on the t-shirt fence.”

Parts of the current memorial have been ripped down by vandals multiple times in recent months.

Preskenis said local Black artist Micah BlackLight designed the sculpture. It’s going to cost around $160,000. Preskenis said the Ashland Parks Foundation has already pledged $16,000.

Other Juneteenth festivals are also planned this weekend in Medford, Eureka, Grants Pass and Coos Bay.

In Medford, Black Alliance & Social Empowerment, known as BASE Southern Oregon, is holding its third annual festival at Pear Blossom Park on Saturday from 11 a.m. till 7 p.m.

The group Black Humboldt is hosting an event in Eureka from noon till 10 p.m. at Halvorsen Park, featuring local Black vendors and performances.

Grants Pass will hold its first Juneteenth celebration this year, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Reinhart Park on June 19.

And a number of events are taking place in Coos Bay. A discussion at 11 a.m. on June 17 the Coos History Museum will feature Taylor Stewart from Oregon Remembrance Project. A reception follows catered by Black Market Gourmet at 4 p.m. featuring food, live music and a virtual exhibit.

After graduating from Oregon State University, Roman came to JPR as part of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism in 2019. He then joined Delaware Public Media as a Report For America fellow before returning to the west coast.