We have July 4th, why do we need Juneteenth?
In 1776, in the United Colonies, the Declaration of Independence announced the freedom of the 13 American colonies from England. It was a momentous day in our US history but at that time hundreds of thousands of Black people were still enslaved. This declaration of freedom had little to do with them.
A full 87 years went by before in January of 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation emancipating enslaved Americans. Yet in Galveston, Texas, it wasn’t until June 19, 1865, two and a half years later, that a Union general arrived and informed enslaved Americans in the Galveston area that they had been emancipated.
Juneteenth marks the end of slavery in the United States (over 100 years ago) and the beginning of greater freedom for Black Americans.
Marking Juneteenth, now a national holiday, is the right thing to do both to recognize this important event AND to acknowledge we’re still far from being a country in which all men and women are treated equally.
Even now, some states are working to limit voting rights and refusing to acknowledge that systemic racism is woven into our country’s foundation. Some of the same leaders who supported the creation of this national holiday are undermining the fundamental rights of Black Americans.
We all have work to do to right the wrongs in our society and today we have the opportunity to honor fellow Black Americans and remind one another that we must work in every way that we can to ensure that all black lives do in fact, matter.
Let us know what you come up with!