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Juneteenth 2024

“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”
-Ida B. Wells

Juneteenth – the shorthand phrase for June 19th – falls on a Wednesday [June 19th] this year. Juneteenth, also known as “Emancipation Day” or “Freedom Day,” marks the anniversary of the end of slavery in the United States of America, spotlighting the arrival of federal troops in Galveston, Texas, more than two years following the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation for the purpose of informing those present that all who were slaves were formally and henceforth free.

Freedom, while a simple enough concept to conceptualize, is a harder one to endure for the Black person. As we pause on Juneteenth to celebrate the arrival of freedom to all in 2024, we recognize that the side effects of freedom on the heels of bondage are ever-present. While bodies are no longer shackled to metal chains and subjected to lashes from rawhide whips or tree branches, generational poverty remains prevalent among people of color, perpetuating a cycle that deepens the wealth gap. While schools have been desegregated since 1954, socio-economic scale and districting influences which schools geographically receive resources, funding, and support beyond what the government requires. Juneteenth is both a time of remembrance and celebration of freedom from the legalized horror that was chattel slavery and a reflection space related to present circumstances and future possibilities. Civil Rights activist and politician the late John Lewis stated,

"Ours is not the struggle of one day, one week, or one year. Ours is not the struggle of one judicial appointment or presidential term. Ours is the struggle of a lifetime, or maybe even many lifetimes, and each one of us in every generation must do our part."

As we recognize Juneteenth in our collective and individual observances, may we practice gratitude for those who have come before us. May we look toward the future with the expectation for new levels of liberation within our current context(s). As we purchase paraphernalia, may we continue to educate ourselves and our children about the history on which we stand. As we attend cookouts and post statuses on social media, may we be as eager to become and remain united as we move forward.
Juneteenth 2024, Freedom Day, the Emancipation Proclamation


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