The observance of Juneteenth is about the journey and achievement of African Americans - from a horrific period of sanctioned enslavement to the pinnacle of human endeavors. It is a story of pride, resilience and determination that will always be of historical and spiritual importance – as it serves us well to understand that together, we can overcome all obstacles in our path.
As we know it, June 19th 1865, was the day word reached the enslaved in Galveston, Texas, that their emancipation had been made formal, though it had been so since January, 1, 1863. And with those words, our country changed, this world changed. And, with bold and contentious decisions, we have continued to change – striving always to make it right, to make it better for all.
Again, we have the opportunity to look back at this nearly century-and-a-half journey of progress. We pay homage to those who have gone before us, those that have paved the road to freedom – many with their lives. We stand on their shoulders. We, as a collective, from all walks of life, are a part of this victory. We celebrate freedom.
Through our celebrations we reflect this independence. Through grass roots organizing and community collaboration we enjoy the creativity and dedication that produce celebrations from the dinner table to the backyard barbeque, from the neighborhood block party to the city wide parade, and from the school cafeteria to the corporate conference room. There is no governing body that sanctions or approves Juneteenth celebrations or Juneteenth organizations. We encourage everyone to participate in a local event or start their own tradition. Strengthening the ties that bind us should always be our objective. Unity and peace are our goals.
As we pay tribute to the journey, we acknowledge the many roles and contributions of the African American spirit to our society. We embrace the past as well as the future that only unity, respect and appreciation can bring. To the countless supporters, organizers and attendees of Juneteenth celebrations hosted all across this nation and beyond, you are writing the history of our country and our world – there can be no greater honor than that. We thank you.
We Celebrate Juneteenth!