The City of Federal Way is hosting a flag-raising ceremony in honor of Juneteenth Friday, June 17. The ceremony is at noon outside City Hall.
This year marks the third anniversary of raising the Juneteenth flag in Federal Way. In 2021, Juneteenth became recognized as a federal holiday.
Juneteenth — celebrated on June 19 — commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African-American people and is also known as America’s “Second Independence Day.”
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation made the permanent abolition of slavery a Union war aim, according to the city’s proclamation. The document provided the legal framework for the emancipation of nearly all four million enslaved peoples as the Union armies advanced.
“The City of Federal Way is proud to celebrate this important national day of freedom and is committed to creating a more just, inclusive, and equitable community,” the proclamation states.
The proclamation was accepted on June 7 by Diversity Commission Chair Trenise Rogers and resident Evan Cook.
“Today’s Juneteenth proclamation, for me, is a symbol of contributions of enslaved Africans in the United States,” Rogers said, highlighting the contributions of John N. Conna. Conna was born into slavery in 1836 in Texas, and eventually served as a free man in an all-black Union regiment during the Civil War.
Conna owned at least 157 acres of land in Federal Way between Panther Lake and the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center, according to the historical society. Among other accomplishments, Conna was an influential pioneer, politician, and real estate agent in the late 1800s.
Descendants of Conna and city staff are working to name a location in Federal Way after Conna in the coming months.
Federal Way City Hall and its services are closed Monday, June 20 in honor of the holiday.