What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth is an African American holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It is celebrated annually on June 19th, and marks the day in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation and free all slaves in the state. Juneteenth is also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day or Emancipation Day.
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
June 19, 1865, was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official on January 1, 1863. Read the Emancipation Proclamation here.
On June 17th, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday.
How should someone celebrate Juneteenth?
Celebrations are often commercialized, and it is certainly happening to Juneteenth as we look across the United States. However, this is not all bad! It also brings our attention to this valuable holiday.
It is vital to our heritage as Americans to recognize African Americans’ contributions to our nation historically and today. Juneteenth is a big part of our history as a nation. The history of Black America brings along with it strong feelings, yet holds many things worthy of commemorating and keeping in our culture for generations to come.
So how can you celebrate Juneteenth? Here are a few ideas.
1) Get personal with friends and family
Host an educational event or discussion with family and friends to learn more about the history of Juneteenth and its significance. This can be in the format of a barbeque or a cookout!
2) Support your local celebrations and community
Attend a local Juneteenth celebration, such as a parade, festival, or other event. Not one in your area? There’s no time like the present to start organizing an event that brings the community together every year.
3) Organize and host a group event
Organize a volunteer activity in your community, such as a food or clothing drive, to support those in need. You could also participate in a virtual reading/discussion group focusing on books about African American history and culture.
4) Donate to a leading nonprofit
Make a donation to a nonprofit organization that works to support the African American community. Here are a few that would benefit from your support!
- Association for the Study of African American Life and History
- African American Leadership Forum
- Black Lives Matter
- Black Male Voter Project
- Black Women for Wellness
- Black Women’s Blueprint
Juneteenth is a national and now a company holiday.
To the LLIF Community,
We are excited to announce that starting this year, LLIF will be recognizing Juneteenth as a company holiday. Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is a significant occasion that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. It symbolizes the ongoing struggle for African Americans to achieve equal rights and serves as a reminder of the importance of justice and equality.
Juneteenth is observed on June 19th annually, marking the day in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to proclaim the end of slavery, over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. This date represents a pivotal moment in history, highlighting the resilience and determination of African Americans throughout their journey toward freedom and equality.
By designating Juneteenth as a company holiday, we aim to honor the contributions, accomplishments, and rich cultural heritage of African Americans within our organization and society as a whole. This step reflects our unwavering commitment to cultivating an inclusive and diverse workplace that celebrates and respects the rights and experiences of all individuals.
Moreover, we recognize that Juneteenth closely aligns with the legacy of another influential figure in the fight for equality, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As we commemorate Juneteenth, we also pay tribute to Dr. King’s tireless efforts in advancing civil rights and promoting unity among all races. His vision and leadership continue to inspire us, emphasizing the significance of equality, justice, and the pursuit of a more harmonious society.
To mark Juneteenth, we encourage you to participate in educational initiatives, engage in local community events, and reflect on the importance of this day. LLIF will be providing resources, stories, and opportunities for dialogue to foster understanding and awareness of the challenges faced by African Americans throughout history and in the present day.
We extend our gratitude for your ongoing commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace environment. Together, we can bring about positive change and contribute to a more equitable society. As we observe Juneteenth as a holiday at LLIF, we hope it offers each of us an opportunity to reflect, learn, and celebrate the progress made while acknowledging the work that still lies ahead.
Wishing you a meaningful and inspiring Juneteenth celebration.
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