Remembering Why Juneteenth is What it is ✊🏼

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Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons (Juneteenth Celebration at Emancipation Park 1880. A group photograph of thirty-one people at a Juneteenth Celebration in Emancipation Park in Houston’s Fourth Ward.)

Freedom, the state of not being imprisoned, enslaved, restrained or hindered is a precious form of liberation to indeed celebrate. We celebrate Independence Day on July 4 in the United States of America to remember our independence from Great Britain in 1776. Around the world, throughout history many countries declared their independence from certain regimes. Today, June 19, we celebrate Juneteenth in the USA.

The celebration of Juneteenth (also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day) commemorates the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. Short for June Nineteenth, Juneteenth marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take control of the state and to ensure that all enslaved people be free.

This month is especially momentous because two days ago, on Thursday June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris signed into law a bill establishing Juneteenth National Independence Day, as a federal holiday. Why is this bill beyond monumental and incredible? Because it is long overdue. How long? President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 declaring all enslaved people in the states that were engaged in rebellion against the Union “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”

This holiday observes the end to slavery in the United States of America and is considered the longest running African American holiday. The Emancipation proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863 didn’t instantly free any enslaved people. It only applied to places under Confederate control. Please open your minds to understand why Juneteenth is a celebration of victory for all enslaved people then, along with their descendants since that time. This is why it is so important to remember and to never forget the significance of this observance. We don’t want to revisit or reenact a time that was so painful, divisive, and oppressive ever again, for anyone or any race of people. Click here to read more about this powerful, historical celebration.

President Lincoln, Slavery and the Emancipation Proclamation

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Juneteenth | DoDEA

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