PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Portland’s 50th annual Juneteenth celebration is kicking off this weekend with plenty of opportunities for you and your family to celebrate.

KOIN 6 News talked to Leroy Barber, president of The Voices Project – which supports and promotes leaders of color. The organization has an entire weekend of events lined up.

Barber said this year, they want to bring awareness to Black owned businesses, literature, art, culture and kids.

On Friday night, the organization hosted a music and arts event at Portland Covenant Church in north Portland featuring a Black artist gallery, music and food.

On Saturday, the group is celebrating businesses with a business fair in southeast Portland and Sunday is focused on family and kids.

Everyone is welcome at these events. Barber explained why it is important for everyone to celebrate Juneteenth, not just the Black community.

“Do you want to celebrate freedom is the question right, when people say ‘hey, is this just for Black people?’ No, do you agree with freedom, and do you want to celebrate freedom? Do you want to celebrate us moving from what was horrific to now where we can build a story together?”
The business fair runs Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at All Saints Episcopal Church. Black businesses from around the Portland area will sell their products and there will also be face painting and games for kids.

Juneteenth events in Portland

Barber said this Juneteenth is a holiday that should be as big as the Fourth of July because it is the day that every American was declared free.