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Juneteenth: A Day of Reflection

19 Jun 2024

Editors Note: Our offices will be closed to allow our team to learn more about Black American history and take action individually. With respect for a day that is complex, both celebratory and filled with reminders of injustices past and present, below is a history of Juneteenth and its modern-day significance.

On June 19, 1865 – almost 2.5 years after the Emancipation Proclamation took effect on January 1, 1863 – over 250,000 enslaved Black people in Texas were finally freed when Union troops made it to Galveston Bay to spread the news of freedom. This day became known as “Juneteenth” and has been celebrated by African Americans generation after generation. However, it was not officially recognized as a federal holiday until June 17, 2021.

Juneteenth has been a time of celebration, joy, and festivity among the African American community for decades as a tribute to freedom after hundreds of years of enslavement. Now, with the recognition as a federal holiday, it is important to remember the significance of this day. Juneteenth is not merely a day off from work. It serves as a vital opportunity for all Americans to engage in meaningful reflection about the nation's complex history of slavery and to honor the enduring struggles and contributions of Black Americans throughout history, including today.

As years pass and more Americans learn about Juneteenth, it is our hope that you will share the story of this holiday. We hope that you will spend time pouring into the African American community through uplifting Black voices, sharing platforms and resources, and shining light on the work still needing to be done in this country. Our hope is that you will do this work more than one day out of the year. The United States has a complex past that cannot be erased, but the past doesn’t have to determine the future. Now is the time to stand up and do more. The best place to start is education and contribution. We have included some resources below to help you on your journey.

Happy Juneteenth!

Juneteenth: A Toast to the Afro Future - Youth To The People

The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth | National Museum of African American History and Culture ( R44865.pdf (

Red Pop and Freedom: How (And How Not) to Celebrate Juneteenth, a New Federal Holiday | Religion Dispatches

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