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Celebrating Juneteenth

June 16, 2024

Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19th, marks the day when a Union Army general ordered the

final enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas. More than just a date of historical

significance, Juneteenth is a reminder of the ongoing journey toward freedom, equality, and

justice. It is a day to reflect on the strides made and the work still needed to bridge divides and

create a society where everyone feels a sense of belonging.

The Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863 and promised freedom to

all enslaved individuals in the southern states of the Confederacy. On June 19, 1865, 900 days

after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, the Proclamation was finally honored in

Texas and enslaved individuals could finally freely celebrate.

This date, first recognized as Jubilee Day by freedmen and women in 1866, serves as a

reminder of a pivotal moment in American history when the nation took an important step toward

fulfilling its foundational ideals of equality and liberty for all. It highlights the decades-long,

ongoing struggle for civil rights and social justice for Black Americans. It has become a

celebration of African American culture and heritage, often including festivals, education,

community connection events, cookouts and family reunions.

Far from simply a day to celebrate, Juneteenth provides an opportunity for ALL Americans to

reflect on the legacy of slavery and all ongoing challenges related to racial inequality, fostering a

greater awareness across our diverse national communities. Recognizing this important date

helps to solidify and build our commitment to create spaces of belonging where all individuals

are seen, heard and valued in their complexity