Local Black activists and government officials plan to talk about racial equity and Black history at a Marysville Juneteenth event at Comeford Park.
The local event will be held on June 12 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
It is being organized by local organizations Change the Narrative and Artists in Activism.
“We got the idea to do an event to kick off the week of Juneteenth,” said Michael Adams, executive director of Change the Narrative.
In April the Washington state legislature declared Juneteenth a state holiday as well, said Adams, so the local groups wanted to promote the day which is often celebrated as an end of slavery in the U.S.
“Juneteenth is a celebration of the last slaves in the state of Texas who were notified of the Emancipation Proclamation,” said Adams.
The day is normally honored on June 19, but Adams said that they wanted to mark the beginning of the week before the official day.
“This is to celebrate Black culture and learn more about the movement and that push for social justice that came out last year because of George Floyd,” he said.
The Marysville event will begin at 11 a.m. with music from Artists in Activism and an introduction and history at 11:30 a.m.
Elected government officials such as Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring and 44th Legislative District Representatives John Lovick and April Berg are scheduled to speak at the event.
“We wanted to bring together local elected officials and give them an opportunity to talk about their plans for racial equity for the future,” said Adams.
At 1 p.m. some local Black individuals who are running for office around Snohomish County are scheduled to speak.
“We’re highlighting Black voices in the community and those who are serving by running for school board or other positions,” said Adams.
One of those scheduled is Clarence Shaw, who is running this November for Marysville School Board Pos. 4 against Wade Rinehardt.
Other candidates from Lynnwood and Lake Stevens are also scheduled.
At 2:30 p.m. a discussion with police about law enforcement reform is scheduled.
“We’re having a roundtable discussion with a few of the local police department chiefs,” said Adams. “We want it to be an open community conversation."
Parts of the event will also highlight the history of Black people in America.
“Even after the emancipation there was still the Black Codes and Jim Crow, legal forms of oppression,” said Adams. “There is still social changes that need to be made now."
Adams encourages Marysville community members and Snohomish County residents to come out to the event.
“I hope that everyone shows up and supports their community,” he said.