JUNE-BOOK

How I Learned About Juneteenth

By Daniela Lopez

I first heard about Juneteenth when I set out to write this blog. I had not heard about it before, and I wondered if I was the only one. I asked a few friends what they knew about this holiday and surprisingly enough, I found out that most of them didn’t know about it either.

For those who don’t know, you can read more about it here, but I’ll give you a brief recap. Juneteenth is a celebration that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, general Gordon Grander arrived to Galveston, Texas and informed people of the town that the Emancipation Proclamation had set the slaves free.

Since then, Juneteenth has become an Independence Day of sorts for African Americans; a historic first foothold in the long climb for equality that has spanned over a century and a half.

Unfortunately, it would appear that awareness of this event has dwindled over the years. Even though African American millennials have great respect for their heritage and history, their knowledge of this holiday is not as strong as it was for Baby Boomers or Generation X.

Now that I have been enlightened about this important date I strongly believe it should be commemorated. For most African Americans, Juneteenth has the same symbolism as July 4th to all Americans — freedom. So on the 19th lets all take a moment to reflect on the amazing strides we’ve made towards a free and equal society, and how far we still have to go.

Let’s celebrate Juneteenth!

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