Diane Benson and Barbara Erickson lead the Elizabeth Peratrovich Day parade in Petersburg Wednesday, February 16, 2022. (Joe Viechnicki/KFSK)

Residents marched down main street in a heavy downpour Wednesday past Petersburg’s mural of Alaska civil rights leader Elizabeth Wannamaker Peratrovich. Across Alaska people mark February 16 as the anniversary of the signing of an anti-discrimination bill passed by Alaska’s territorial legislature in 1945. It was championed by Peratrovich, who was born in Petersburg, and her husband Roy. Both were leaders of the civil rights organizations the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood.

Presidents of the Petersburg’s ANB and ANS camp 16 spoke Wednesday about the impact of racism on their lives, along with several other local residents. Speakers were ANS camp 16 president Barbara Erickson, Diane Benson, Ross Nannauck III and ANB camp 16 president Joe Stewart.

Joe Stewart and Barbara Erickson speak at Wednesday’s gathering. (Joe Viechnicki/KFSK)