Freedom Day Is Here! The History and Meaning of Juneteenth

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Wellness visionary & inspirational speaker, author of Let Your Fears Make You Fierce, & Founder of The Get Loved Up Community. My core mission is to promote daily self-care, oneness & eco-friendly living.

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“Today on Juneteenth, the day we celebrate the end of slavery, the day we memorialize those who offered us hope for the future and the day when we renew our commitment to the struggle for freedom.” ~Angela Davis


The History of Freedom Day

At Get Loved Up, we celebrate Juneteenth – also known as Freedom Day!

June 19th, 1865 (Juneteenth) commemorates the day slavery officially ended in the United States when President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1863. It took two and half years for the proclamation to reach the Confederate States when Union Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, and relayed the news: “in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States,” all of Texas’s approximately 250,000 enslaved people were now free.

But the news of freedom did not reflect immediate action. Some plantation owners waited until after the year’s harvest to free those still in slavery.

 

June 19th: The Meaning of this date to the Black Communities 

In the 1870s, a group of Black residents in Houston raised money to buy 10 acres of land and create a place to formally celebrate June 19th called Emancipation Park.

After Robert E Lee surrendered in 1865 ending the Civil War, many black families migrated across the states. And with them, they took the celebrations of Juneteenth.

However, between the late 1800s and the 1960s – during the Jim Crow era, Juneteenth celebrations were often confined to the Black community.

Juneteenth is a time we honor and celebrate liberation. We celebrate with events, parades, music, and more. Texas, in 1980, became the first state to officially make Juneteenth a state holiday.

 

Juneteenth: A New Holiday

In 2021, President Joe Biden signed Juneteenth into law, making it the United States’s 11th federal holiday – the first since Martin Luther King Day was added to the calendar in 1983. Now millions of federal workers get the day off.

While Juneteenth is a day to celebrate, there is still a lot of progress to be made. Systemic racism in housing, education, and employment still is a serious matter in our country. The disproportion of wealth for Black families and the lack of progress on reparations is far from being fully resolved.

The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright, George Floyd, Ma’Khia Bryant, Rayshard Brooks, and many other Black Americans lit fire to the Black Lives Matter movement. A reckoning around racial injustice in America is ignited. Since 2020, hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets across the US to demand justice and change.

This date takes on a profound meaning for the Black communities. There is a lot we can do to honor this day, and it starts with each of us acknowledging our country’s past, and federal recognition of this important part of American history. Other ways you can celebrate Juneteenth:

  • Support Black-owned businesses & creatives.⠀
  • Donate to organizations to support the fight for racial justice.⠀
  • Listen to this, this, and this for discussions on social justice, spiritual activism, & dismantling systems of oppression.
  • Honor & remember lives lost so that we can enjoy the lives we live today.

We are the CHANGE.

How are you supporting the Black community by celebrating this new national holiday?

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