Black-owned biz the focus at Woodstock 'Juneteenth' celebration
This year, on Saturday and Sunday, June 18th and 19th, the newly-official Juneteenth holiday was celebrated in a number of festive events in Southeast Portland and throughout the state and country.
For Black Americans, for over a century and a half it has been a day of "liberty, life, joy, and freedom", to be celebrated with family and friends through the generations. The day gets its name from June 19th, 1865, the date when the last enslaved African Americans were finally freed.
Two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Lincoln in 1863, Union troops sailed into Galveston, Texas, to enforce the emancipation order. Texas was the last state to accept freedom for enslaved African Americans. It was a joyous occasion for those freed, and this year, that joyous and festive day was more widely recognized, understood, and celebrated.
In Portland, Juneteenth has been observed by the Black community for exactly fifty years. In 1972, the late renowned social activist Clara Peoples along with Ora Lee Green organized the first Rose City public Juneteenth celebration.
In Woodstock in late May, All Saints Episcopal Church offered several short workshops with Leroy Barber, co-founder of the "Voices Project". Attendees were prompted to probe their views on race, and learn about Juneteenth.
Then on Saturday, June 18th, Juneteenth was celebrated at All Saints at 4033 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard — a way for people to learn about Juneteenth, and to get acquainted with some small businesses locally owned by Black Americans. So on Saturday eight such business owners — with their services or products — set up tables and canopies in the church parking lot. There were also children's activities, including face painting, in the grassy area in front.
Amani Austin was there to tell people about her new nonprofit, "Austin Advocates With", LLC. Austin partners with organizations and corporations to help them cultivate a culture of equity and inclusion by developing evaluative tools and equitable practices and policies. "I help them build sustainable processes that they can [continue to] use without me," Amani explained. See more at — www.aadvocateswith.com
The seven other business owners displayed original art, or products they had created for sale.
Sixteen-year old Bella and fourteen-year old Brasil Campbell were there for a company begun seven years ago which sells barbeque sauces following the recipes of their great grandparents, Felton and Mary Campbell. Their BBQ sauce and spice rubs are sold in New Seasons and Market of Choice, and can be found online — www.feltonandmary.com
Regina Morgan, owner of "10:30 Braiding and Natural Hair Design" in Vancouver, Washington, and her daughter and assistant Neairra, were there as experts in braiding black hair. Their business is also online — www.1030braiding.com/services
Three kinds of buttercrust homemade pies — pecan, pumpkin, and spiced peach crumble — were featured by Florence Jenkins. Her fifteen-year old business "Nana's Exquisite Confections" is located in Gresham, and is known for its convenient "Preorder, Prepay, then Pickup" policy. It's also on the Internet at — www.nanasexquisiteconfections.com
The booth of Carbon Footprint Designs featured art pieces by graphic designer and artist Heather Daniel. "Our slogan is 'Creating an Atmosphere of Love' because our production entails a minimal amount of waste," explained Ms. Daniel. Her husband, Dustin Daniel, came up with the business name that conveys the legacy they want to leave behind — a minimal carbon footprint. For more, go online — www.carbonfootprintdesigns.com
Jessica Mayhew was selling her "Nayk'd Cocoa", a cocoa butter product that she says can be used as a hair product, as body butter, a tattoo healer, and a massage butter. "I have been making it for ten years and marketing it since January of this year. It can also heal eczema and psoriasis." She sells it at the Night Market on S.E. 82nd Avenue at Woodstock Boulevard (in the former pawn shop building) on Fridays and Saturdays, 4 until 10 p.m. You can see more about the Night Market on Instagram — @lionseyetavern.
Nicholle Ortiz's small thrift and consignment business is called "Every Sunflower PDX". Ortiz sells through her Facebook page, and at various events, and has been a vintage and secondhand curator/reseller for a year. "My dream is to open my own place as kind of a 'business collective' — a community of small businesses where people can learn about business, and build generational wealth."
The Woodstock Juneteenth celebration remained rain-free until just an hour before it ended at 2 p.m. Then a cloudburst sent some people scurrying for shelter.
To learn more about public events at Woodstock's All Saints Episcopal, at Woodstock Boulevard and 41st, go online — www.allsaintspdx.org/calendar
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