Centralia Mayor Signs Proclamation Recognizing June 19 as Juneteenth


Centralia Mayor Susan Luond at Tuesday night’s council meeting signed a proclamation recognizing Saturday, June 19, as Juneteenth, a holiday marking the belated announcement in Texas of the end of slavery in the United States.

The holiday, Luond said, “commemorates African American freedom and celebrates the successes gained through education and greater opportunity.”

“On a larger scale, celebration of Juneteenth reminds each of us of the precious promises of freedom, equality and opportunity which are at the core of the American Dream,” she said. 

Last month, Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law HB 1016, which effectively recognizes Juneteenth as a state holiday in Washington. An overwhelming majority of states in the country recognize the holiday.

During reports, Mayor Pro-Tem Max Vogt said he’s been celebrating Juneteenth since back when he was in college, during the 1970s in Cincinnati, and recognized the impact Black people have had in his life.

“It’s really important to remember that we are all human beings and to be kind to one another and to understand what people have gone through. So, I’m very proud of our city that we’ve had this proclamation this year, it’s something I’ve celebrated for years. I’d like to thank the mayor for reading it and the city for thinking about it,” he said.

Councilor Rebecca Staebler thanked the city for making the proclamation possible, noting that “it is yet another way to celebrate our diversity and honor our heritage as a city,” referring to prior discussion of Centralia founder George Washington, who was a Black man.

Councilor Mark Westley said a group called Multiculturally Minded LC plans on tentatively holding a small celebration at George Washington Park at 10 a.m. to celebrate and recognize the holiday. The hope is to provide something possibly larger next year.

He then invited attendees of that celebration to walk over to the 11 a.m. opening of the Pine Street Plaza.

“The community is invited to the event which will include a look at the historical background of Centralia and the relevance between Juneteenth and our founding father, George Washington.  A proclamation will be read along with singing and the reading of a poem,” read a news release from Westley.