As the entire nation is crawling with protestors fighting against police brutality sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks in the US, an important day in history that marks the freedom of enslaved black people in the US falls on the nineteenth of June. Every year, Juneteenth is considered an important day and declared a holiday in 47 US, this year its significance is higher in view of Black Lives Matter protests.
What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth commemorates the day when General-Major Gordon Granger read out a federal order in Galveston, Texas, abolishing slavery in the state. This was a historic moment as Texas was the last state to abolish slavery. Despite Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and the introduction of the 13th Amendment in January 1865, enslavement continued in Texas. On June 19, 1865, when slavery was abolished, the day was celebrated Juneteenth as Emancipation Day.
Juneteenth is also known as Freedom Day or Jubilee Day. Many companies, including Target, Twitter and Nike, give their employees a day off to observe the holiday. Google also made Juneteenth an official calendar holiday.
Juneteenth in light of Black Lives Matter protests
Juneteenth is widely celebrated across the US with events like prayer service, speaker series, rodeos, fishing, barbecues, baseball, etc. In view of coronavirus and the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, individuals can observe Juneteenth by learning about the history of how black people’s life before and after the abolishing of slavery. One can watch the documentary titled 13th on Netflix to get a visual understanding if reading isn’t your cup of tea.
One can also participate in online protests against racism, which continues to this day. But above all, let the spirit to fight racism not just be about one day, but be carried forward throughout the year.