Now more than ever, we must highlight and celebrate the rich history of our community and our culture. In the last few days, cities and companies across the country have declared Juneteenth a holiday.
Just like our lives, our HISTORY matters, including why Juneteenth is rooted in joy and is a call for liberation for the Black community.
It took years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 for enslaved people to be freed nationwide. Juneteenth celebrates June 19th, 1865, the day when the Union Army issued an order proclaiming the emancipation of the enslaved people in Galveston, TX — a full two and a half years after President Lincoln took action. The name Juneteenth comes from a blending of the date.
Juneteenth became the date we celebrate emancipation, despite government agents having to travel from plantation to plantation for years after to free our ancestors — all while enslavers continued to steal our labor, knowledge, and skills.
On this day, and for many years since, our ancestors celebrated the promise of liberation and a hope for freedom.
As we continue the fight for freedom and justice around the world, we are calling on our communities to recognize this day, June 19th, as a national holiday. A time to reflect, learn, and activate resources to empower the Black community.
Unlike holidays recognizing pivotal moments in white history like Thanksgiving day, Juneteenth is not widely known or taught in schools. While some states recognize it as a state holiday, it is not a national holiday where offices, banks, postal services, schools, and other services are closed to allow space for celebration.
Join us in the movement to make Juneteenth a national holiday — a time for us to be seen and celebrated.
This Friday, Juneteenth, is our opportunity to experience the joy and rally together to fulfill the hopes and dreams of our ancestors as we work towards our liberation.
In love and solidarity,
Black Lives Matter Global Network