Celebrating Juneteenth: A Day of Freedom
Juneteenth is a holiday commonly known as the end of chattel slavery in the U.S. It commemorates a moment in history when news of emancipation finally reached people who had been enslaved in the most entrenched parts of the former Confederacy, two and a half years after slavery had been abolished.
Writer P.R. Lockhart observes Juneteenth as a symbol of how freedom in the U.S. has always been delayed for Black people. Even when the laws are changed, liberty and justice do not come easily or quickly. Lockhart writes, “The decades after the end of the Civil War would see a wave of lynching, imprisonment and Jim Crow laws take root. What followed was the disproportionate impact of mass incarceration, discriminatory housing policies and a lack of economic investment.”
Today, Juneteenth is regarded as a day of celebration and freedom. After the calls of many to recognize this day as a federal holiday, on June 17, 2021, President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law. Juneteenth is the first federal holiday established since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.
For Black communities celebrating Juneteenth, we uplift your joy and liberation. For those of us on a journey of allyship, Juneteenth symbolizes another day to recommit to the possibility of just futures.