Hundreds celebrate Juneteenth in downtown Medford

DOWNTOWN MEDFORD, Ore. — Today, just days after it became our newest national holiday, the first Juneteenth Celebration Festival was held downtown.

June 19th, also known as Juneteenth, is the day slavery finally ended in Texas in 1865.

“We really believe everyone should be celebrating, it’s not just black history, this is American history,” said one of the event’s organizers.

Hundreds gathered locally for the celebration of the new holiday, signed into law just a couple of days ago by President Joe Biden.

“This is history-making, proclamation emancipation day, it’s been a long time coming,” said jewelry vendor Deonna Robinson and Grants Pass resident, Erika Wilson.

They say they chose to come to the event in Pear Blossom Park because it feels inclusive.

“To be a part of this, and see all the people mask-free, beautiful day – it’s a great celebration.”

The event was hosted by the local non-profit organization Black Alliance Social Empowerment, or BASE.

The event promoted many local black-owned businesses.

It also featured various different live music performances and even bouncy houses for the kids to play on.

“It feels so good to get off Zoom, see all these black faces, and really have a chance to connect with people,” said BASE Member, Jessica Freedman.

She says nearly 40 vendors were in attendance.

Freedman hopes the celebration makes all people feel included.

“It can feel isolating, I don’t feel – you don’t always see black people and it’s really nice to see and feel like you’re part of the community.”

NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.
Skip to content