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Both events are happening this weekend in Portland in different parts of town.

PMG FILE PHOTO - A Portland Pride parade before the start of the pandemic.A celebration of diversity, on two fronts, will come to Portland this weekend as the Juneteenth and Pride festivals take place on both sides of the Willamette River.

Both events will be on Saturday and Sunday, with more gatherings leading up to the weekend. Pride Northwest will be held at Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park and Juneteenth at Lillis-Albina Park.

The events share a common purpose.

"It's a time for community and unity and for everyone to come together," said Fatima Brotherson-Erriche, who was crowned Ms. Juneteenth for 2022.

While African Americans have commonly celebrated the holiday for years, 2022 marks the second Juneteenth recognized as a federal holiday, officially on June 19.

Still, Brotherson-Erriche said many people may not know {obj:63553:Juneteenth marks the day when the last slaves were freed in Galveston, Texas, in 1865.}

"I like to call it the real independence day of America," Brotherson-Erriche said. "The entire nation wasn't free until June 19, 1865."

Pride Northwest returns to the riverfront for the first time in two years, paused during the pandemic. Executive Director Debra Porta said she worried for the safety of people in the community, as Pride can signal a visibility for people who aren't in a safe situation to be out with their sexuality.

This year, the shadow of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, looms over the event after 31 white nationalists were arrested ahead of a pride event there. Authorities believe they intended to antagonize and riot.

"Our community lives with the potential of threat every single day," Porta said, "and Pride experiences some sort of push back, threat or something every single year."

PMG FILE PHOTO - Children attend a previous Juneteenth celebration.Juneteenth organizers told KOIN 6 News they have a security plan in place and are working with the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office to keep tabs on the event. It is similar with Pride NW and the Portland Police Bureau.

"We look really hard at the intelligence, the indicators, anything that would point us toward a significant threat, and we respond accordingly," said Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell.

Lovell has been challenged with low staffing in the bureau for weekends where events needed additional security. He says they are staffed to cover the event, as well as what else may arise in the city.

"We want to make sure that we're staffing those appropriately but, we still have to think about the city at large too. It's a lot of flexibility. Officers are working really hard with a lot of overtime," Lovell said.

For the first time, the Bureau of Emergency Management is coordinating with Pride NW. Porta said, historically, coming together has always been a point of safety and that goes for this weekend as well.

"We have each other, and there's power in our togetherness. That's where a lot of our strength comes from, and that's never changed."

KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune.


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