▶️ Juneteenth now recognized as paid holiday in Deschutes County


June 19th, or Juneteenth, commemorates the official end of slavery in the United States.

The date became recognized as a federal holiday last year, and steps have now been taken to honor the holiday at the local level.

On Wednesday morning, Deschutes County Commissioners voted unanimously to recognize Juneteenth as a paid county holiday.

“County employees will either be compensated better,” Phil Chang, Deschutes County Commissioner said. “Or they will be able to take this holiday off.”

It is a move Marcus LeGrand, The Father’s Group executive board member, says is a unique one and he is happy to see commissioners make this effort towards inclusivity.

“I am glad they’re doing something like this,” LeGrand said. “It shows their commitment to wanting equitable change and also inclusion. I think that’s very very tremendous for us to have this in the community where we as African Americans are now having the opportunity to have our history be known in a way that never existed.”

The Father’s Group will be organizing this year’s Juneteenth event in Bend.

The organization was founded by several black fathers who were concerned about the experiences their children were having both in school and in the broader community.

“For us to be able to be recognized for our contributions and the many things that we contribute,” LeGrand said. “It is essential.”

Chang says this is a unanimous vote he is proud of, and that Deschutes County will be considering sponsorship of this year’s Juneteenth event in the coming weeks.

“The history of our nation is blemished and stained by slavery,” Chang said. “Having a day to formally recognize and honor the end of slavery helps a little bit to correct that.”

LeGrand says the decision should have a positive impact on event attendance from here on out, expecting about 10,000 people this year throughout two days.

“For two days you get to come and be able to be involved in cultural relevant stuff,” LeGrand said. “That is critical to the understanding of our country as a whole.”

This year’s Juneteenth celebration will take place June 18th and 19th at Drake Park.


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