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Juneteenth Celebration 2024

Saturday, June 15, 1:00–2:30 p.m.

Outdoor event: 16th Ave. South from Jackson Street north to South Main Street 


Sponsored by: Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action,

Seattle /KingCounty African American Reparations Committee,

Washington State Labor Council, MLK Labor

Featured Speakers: April Sims, Cherika Carter, Larry Gossett

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The national Juneteenth holiday commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas – two months after the Confederacy had surrendered.  That was about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states. It's the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983.


For the past few years, PSARA has celebrated Juneteenth using a Zoom format, due to COVID concerns.  However, this year PSARA, along with our cosponsors the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) and the Seattle/King County African American Reparations Committee, is planning an exciting outdoor Juneteenth celebration.


We are closing 16th Ave. South from Jackson Street north to South Main Street in front of the WSLC and PSARA’s offices.  We are inviting speakers, spoken word artists, dancers, and musicians to celebrate with us.  There will be food available.  We are delighted to have three confirmed speakers: April Sims, WSLC President; Cherika Carter, WSLC Secretary Treasurer; and Larry Gossett, former ML King County Councilmember, who serves on PSARA’s Executive Board and Race and Gender Equity Committee.  With the theme of labor and reparations, our speakers will discuss the harms done to African Americans through generations of racist practices. More information about the speakers is below.


Please join us for this special event and invite your family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances to attend.  Look for emails from PSARA with more details.


April Sims

April was elected President of the WSLC AFL-CIO in October 2022 and was sworn in to begin her four-year term in January 2023.  She is the first woman and African American elected as WSLC president and the first black woman ever elected to the presidency of an AFL-CIO state federation.


April’s life is evidence of the power and potential of organized labor.  The granddaughter of Louisiana sharecroppers and daughter of a single mother, April has seen the power of unions to change lives.  The Great Migration brought Sims’ grandfather to Washington, where his union job provided economic dignity for his family.  Her mom’s union job pulled their family out of the cycle of poverty.  As a young mother, it was Sims’s union job that allowed her to build economic security – and activated her as a leader in Washington’s labor movement.


Cherika Carter

Cherika Carter was elected Secretary Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, by its affiliated unions in October 2022 and was sworn in to begin her four-year term in January 2023.  The activist bug first bit Cherika in 2011 as a Member Political Organizer of United Food & Commercial Workers 1059 in Columbus, Ohio.  She was part of the team that overturned SB 5, Gov. John Kasich’s “Right-to-Work Is Wrong” bill, by taking it to a vote of the people of Ohio.  After graduation from Ohio State University, as a Field Representative of the Ohio AFLCIO Cherika went on to mobilize thousands of activists across the state to take action and win gains for working people.  Cherika is committed to fighting all forms of oppression and advancing the freedoms of all working people. In the struggle for justice, she is guided by these words: “Not needing to clutch for power.  Not needing the light just to shine on me. I need to be one in the number as we stand against tyranny. We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.”


Larry Gossett

Larry has been a civil rights activist in the Puget Sound region for more than 55 years.  He began his effort to challenge racism in Washington as one of the leaders of the fight by the UW Black Student Union to open the University of Washington to more students of color. He was also a member of the Black Panther Party.  Larry has been a remarkable leader in the fight for racial, social, and economic justice throughout his entire working life.  He was elected to serve on the King County Council from 1994 to 2020, where among his many accomplishments, he led the effort to change the name of our county to Martin Luther King County.  He continues in retirement not only as a voice for African Americans but to stand up for racial, social, and economic justice for all marginalized communities.  We are honored that Larry is an active PSARA member and a member of the PSARA Executive Board.


Please plan to join us in what promises to be an educational and uplifting event.


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