Look with humility and graciousness to Black leaders and Black voices to understand and engage in the conversations and reckonings necessary to celebrate Juneteenth.
“All enslaved people are free.”
~ General Order Number 3, July 19, 1865
Today, we celebrate an important historical milestone and our newest national holiday: the celebration of the announcement made by General Gordon Grainger, written by Major Frederick Emery, on June 19th, 1865, in Texas that enslaved Americans were free. An essential, important moment in our history of an America ever-in-progress worthy of remembrance and celebration. And, of course, there remains work to do, so much work. Justice is an everyone project and is good for everyone. And as an old friend often says to me, “it ain’t old behavior if you’re still doing it.” The work we have in front of us is not only acknowledgement, apology, and amends for historical trauma, abuse, oppression, injustice but for current injustices. It is the design and redesign and building and rebuilding of beliefs, behaviors, habits, norms, systems, institutions, and policies that make genuine liberty and authentic justice the standard expectation and experience of every American today.
That work begins with knowing, in our bones, the real history and real experiences that define the deficits of liberty and justice then and now. Here are some voices on the day we celebrate about the day we’re celebrating.
Read he eloquent and complicated grief and gratitude of Casey Gerald in guest essay The True Meaning of Juneteenth
Read about Meet Opal Lee, the 94-year-old activist who marched for miles to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.
Watch the testimony of Ta-Nehisi Coates at the 2019 House hearings on reparations.
Watch the exceptional James Baldwin documentary I Am Not Your Negro
Visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture in DC or The Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama.
Four meaningful ways to observe Juneteenth this year from Janay Kingsberry
More ways to celebrate from Juneteenth.com
Celebrate freedom today by finding a way to learn and to honor — and tomorrow by continuing to work.