A Message About Juneteenth
By The Office of the President | Jun 16, 2022
For Black Americans, Juneteenth has been long celebrated as a pivotal point in American history. However, now that it is a federal holiday, Americans as a collective can contextualize the meaning of why so many people rejoice annually.
When slavery was immediately abolished in most Confederate states by the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, it would be some two and half years later—on June 19, 1865—before enslaved people in Galveston, Texas would learn of their freedom with the enforcement of the Proclamation by a Union General.
As the world stands ready for a monumental 21st-century shift in a movement against hate, racism, and inequity, Juneteenth’s designation as a federal holiday is essential to assuring that Black history is counted as a considerable part of American history.
The promise of freedom has yet to be fully realized in the United States—especially for the Black community and other marginalized people. It is this premise that many Americans have rallied and protested to highlight.
Juneteenth celebrations afford opportunities to reflect, commemorate, and honor the lost lives of the hundreds of thousands of slaves and the lives of children who were sold, helping fuel the horrific legacy of broken Black families.
May we all reflect on and be hopeful for the numerous changes necessary for equality, the eradication of racism, and the strength we all need to meet the enormous challenges ahead.
Contact: Dawn S. Walker
917.439.9666 | 347.533.2071
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