The city will commemorate the day when the last American slaves realized they were free in Texas

PMG FILE PHOTO - The city of Lake Oswego's Juneteenth celebration will return to Millennium Plaza Park on June 18.

The city of Lake Oswego — along with community partners Respond to Racism and LO for LOve — will once again celebrate the holiday that marked when the final American slaves realized they were free in Galveston, Texas in 1856.

The Juneteenth celebration will be held 2-4 p.m. Sunday, June 19, at Millennium Plaza Park.

Coty Raven Morris, a visiting assistant professor of choir, music education, and social justice at Portland State University, is the keynote speaker for the event. Morris is also the founder of Being Human Together, a music education community focusing on addressing important topics like mental health and systemic oppression. Raven Morris is from Texas and will discuss the significance of the holiday.

The event will include music from hip-hop artist Randal Wyatt and tunes from DJ Avelanche, as well as poetry readings from local youth.

Ed Bettencourt, member of Respond to Racism, noted that this year's event falls on the weekend and he in turn hopes it will attract more attendees. He added that celebrating Juneteenth is part of the city's push to aggressively attack systemic inequality and racism, but it is also a reminder that there is more work to be done.

"It is a very important day for all of us, not just African American people, because it does mark the end of slavery in this country," Bettencourt said, later adding: "I want to see a really big crowd in our city supporting this celebration."

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