On Monday, June 19th, communities around the country celebrated Juneteenth. Juneteenth is a day the last enslaved African Americans in Texas were told of the Emancipation Proclamation, granting them freedom on June 19th in 1965. This day has been celebrated for generations by many in the Black community, and was declared a National Holiday in 2021.

There are many ways to celebrate Juneteenth as an SRTS champion. This year, Salem-Keizer coordinator, Beth Schmidt, attended the Willamette Heritage Center’s Historic Walk Juneteenth Celebration, where she learned more about the history of the day and represented SRTS. Beth went on an educational walk with local Black leaders, such as Oregon Black Pioneers, who hope to be involved with future Walk+Roll events like Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day. In Bend, Commute Options SRTS advocates Whitney Bennett and Dory Goodrich helped with the third annual Juneteenth festival, preparing food, supporting vendors, and aiding in set up and take down of the event. 

Participating in community events such as Juneteenth is not only a way to learn more, but to create lasting community partnerships that can positively influence SRTS events. In addition to attending events, we recommend the following actions to help make it a meaningfulday:

  • If you are unfamiliar with the history of Juneteenth, take the day to learn more! The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture is a great place to start your learning journey.
  • Consider volunteering at a Juneteenth event, or donating to a Black led organization or business in your community.
  • If you or someone in your community is hosting a Juneteenth event, consider hosting a bike rodeo or helmet fitting booth at the event. Summer community events can be an excellent way to connect with families and promote safe biking and rolling.
  • Reflect on how your SRTS programming can be inclusive and empowering to students of color. 
  • Invite family and friends to attend events or learn more with you.

Did you celebrate Juneteenth? Email info@oregonsaferoutes.org to share your story and photos!