Juneteenth Freedom Day

Categories: Diversity & Inclusion, Juneteenth, DEI

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is a significant holiday in American history. It commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. This was over two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.

Juneteenth marks the true end of slavery in the United States, as Texas was one of the last holdouts of institutional slavery. The announcement in Galveston brought freedom to approximately 250,000 enslaved people in the state.

Juneteenth is celebrated across the United States with various festivities and traditions, which often include:

Parades and Festivals: Communities organize parades, festivals, and street fairs with music, dancing, and local vendors selling food and crafts.

Educational Events: Lectures, panel discussions, and exhibitions are held to educate people about the history of Juneteenth and the broader context of African American history and culture.

Family Gatherings: Families and friends come together for barbecues, picnics, and reunions, sharing traditional African American foods such as red velvet cake, strawberry soda, and other red foods symbolizing resilience and perseverance.

Reflection and Prayer: Many observances include a moment of silence, prayer, or reflection to honor the struggles and achievements of African Americans throughout history.

Art and Music: Art exhibits, live performances, and music festivals celebrate African American culture. Genres such as jazz, blues, gospel, and hip-hop are often featured.

Juneteenth has gained increasing recognition over the years. In 1980, Texas became the first state to declare Juneteenth an official holiday. As of June 17, 2021, Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States, reflecting its importance in American history and the ongoing struggle for racial equality.

Attend or Organize Events: Participate in local Juneteenth celebrations or organize one in your community.

Learn and Educate: Take the time to read books, watch documentaries, or attend seminars about African American history.

Support Black-Owned Businesses: Use this day to support black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs.

Volunteer: Get involved with organizations that work towards racial justice and equality.

Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom and a reminder of the long and ongoing journey toward racial equality in the United States. It is a day to reflect on the past, celebrate progress, and commit to continued efforts for a more just and equitable society.