Hundreds of marchers took part in a Juneteenth Black Lives Matter march from College Place Middle School to the Edmonds School District headquarters Friday in Lynnwood. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Hundreds of marchers took part in a Juneteenth Black Lives Matter march from College Place Middle School to the Edmonds School District headquarters Friday in Lynnwood. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Students lead Juneteenth march, seek change at their schools

Black student union groups in the Edmonds district organized the event, and the county issued a resolution.

LYNNWOOD — Hundreds of people carried signs and chanted “Black history is American history” as they joined in a Juneteenth march Friday from College Place Middle School to the Edmonds School District headquarters. Many also signed a list of measures they’re requesting of the district.

And as people across Snohomish County gathered to commemorate Juneteenth, a joint resolution passed by the county council and executive honored the date that America’s nearly 250 years of slavery came to an end.

The march was organized by Black student union groups from Mountlake Terrace, Edmonds-Woodway, Meadowdale and Lynnwood high schools.

Among the steps sought by those signing a message to the Edmonds district: Black representation on the school board and among all schools’ staff, removal of school resource officers, mandatory anti-racist training for staff, Black history across all curricula, and accountability for racism that happens in the district.

“The BSUs wanted to do something for Juneteenth — it’s completely student-led,” said Tribecca Brazil, a Black Student Union adviser and paraeducator at Mountlake Terrace High School.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day enslaved Black people in Texas received word of their freedom. More than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation — which said that all people held as slaves shall be “forever free” — news reached the far reaches of the U.S. frontier. Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, backed by 2,000 Union troops, landed on Galveston Island that day 155 years ago and read the order proclaiming “all slaves are free.”

“Juneteenth is a day for us to reflect on the suffering caused by slavery, acknowledge the evils of hatred and discrimination, and commit to being allies of our Black and African American friends, family, and neighbors,” the county resolution says.

At the Lynnwood march, students were joined by a diverse crowd, including parents pushing baby strollers, young children, senior citizens and educators. “My Black Students Are Important to Me,” said one sign carried by a white woman.

Ashley Kay Smith, a 2012 graduate of Everett High School, now works for the Edmonds district as a college and career readiness specialist. She’s the Black Student Union adviser at Meadowdale Middle School and works with Meadowdale’s freshman girls basketball team.

Now 25, she recalls being suspended multiple times from Everett’s North Middle School and being kicked out of an honors English class in high school. “The message was, ‘You don’t belong here,’” said Smith, who is African American. “The amazing thing about these students, they don’t give up. They know they belong here. They know they matter.”

Wearing a cardboard sign that said “Brown and Proud,” Marisol Stewart, 22, remembers being called a “stupid Mexican” at Meadowdale Middle School. “Teachers need to learn to be anti-racist,” said Stewart, now a bilingual paraeducator in the Highline School District.

Juneteenth events were to continue Friday with a candlelight vigil at Meadowdale High School, organized by the school’s Black Student Union and EAACH, the Equity Alliance for Achievement.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; jmuhlstein@heraldnet.com.

Herald writer Rachel Riley contributed.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Kevin Duncan puts his ballot in the ballot drop box outside of the Arlington Library on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020 in Arlington, Wash. The Arlington school District has three measures on the February ballot, including one to replace Post Middle School. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
High court: State must pay for some, not all, ballot boxes

Snohomish County sued to recoup the cost of adding 21 ballot drop boxes to comply with a 2017 law.

Jesse Spitzer (Snohomish County Sheriff's Office)
Sultan man wanted in Washington, Idaho arrested in Montana

Jesse Spitzer, 30, is accused of multiple thefts and was on the run from law enforcement for a week.

‘Armed and dangerous’ carjacking suspect last seen in Edmonds

A man in a stolen truck led troopers on a chase. He crashed, assaulted another driver and took that car.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lynnwood in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Lynnwood bookkeeper gets federal prison for embezzling $298K

Judith Wright, 75, was sentenced Friday to six months for writing fraudulent checks to herself. It wasn’t the first time.

Sen. Ron Muzzall, R-Oak Harbor, left, speaks on the floor of the Senate, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash., during debate on a measure that would delay implementation of a long-term care program and the payroll tax that pays for it. The Senate passed the measure, which was passed by the House last week, and Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign the measure on Friday. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Delay of Washington’s long-term-care program signed into law

The bill addresses concerns about the program’s solvency and criticism about elements of the underlying law.

Anthony Boggess
Man charged with first-degree murder for killing of Marysville roommate

Anthony Boggess, 30, reportedly claimed “demons” told him to hurt people. He’s accused of killing James Thrower, 65.

Les Parks, left, talks with his daughter, Kenzi Parks, after a laser etched drum finished printing Tuesday afternoon at his home in Tulalip, Washington on January 25, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
After 1,200 positive cases, Tulalip Tribes face ‘deepest fear’

“We used to be big on family doings — not anymore.” On top of a cultural toll, the pandemic has exposed health inequities.

Stevens Pass on Dec. 30, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / Herald file)
Amid rocky ski season with 300 complaints, Stevens Pass offers deal

Vail Resorts said returning customers can get discounts for 2022-23 if they renew their passes by May 30.

A car drives by Everett Station where Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin's proposal for its ARPA funds includes funding a child care center at station. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald) 20211118
Council approves lease for Bezos Academy at Everett Station

The preschool will be tuition-free. “I just know how darned important it is,” Councilmember Liz Vogeli said.

Most Read