July 10, 2024

Brendan Baptiste

Communications Office

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(Brendan Baptiste, Communications Office)

After many years hiatus, the Juneteenth celebrations have made a triumphant return to prison facilities across Washington State. The Black Prisoners Caucus (BPC), an organization dedicated to advocating for the rights and betterment of incarcerated African Americans, marked this year’s celebration with a renewed sense of purpose and resilience. Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, has been a poignant day of reflection and celebration for African Americans.

The Juneteenth event held within the confines of Stafford Creek Corrections Center (SCCC), included educational speeches, cultural performances, and discussions aimed at raising awareness about the history and significance of the holiday. Incarcerated individuals shared personal stories and reflections, highlighting the ongoing fight for freedom and equality. Special guest included previously incarcerated individuals who shared inspirational stories and letting the audience know that success is still obtainable if they want it. Their words held weight to many incarcerated individuals as these men have been in their shoes and are now an example of success after incarceration.

The BPC’s leadership aim ed to inspire hope and encourage a collective commitment to social change, both inside and outside prison walls. The return of these celebrations honored the past and galvanized efforts toward a more just and equitable future.

“The celebration is all about autonomy, property, and cultural reclamation,” says Jerry, incarcerated individual, SCCC. “And mostly for me, it’s an opportunity to just show an appreciation for the efforts of the ancestors.”