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Juneteenth: Our History, Our Freedom, Our Strength

Updated: Nov 5, 2023

Photo of a black woman wearing a tee shirt that says "I'm rooting for everybody black"
Photo by Tina Bowie

Juneteenth. It's more than a date on the calendar, more than a moment in history. It’s a testament to our strength, our resilience, our capacity to thrive in the face of adversity.

As a proud Black American woman, I see the significance of Juneteenth as a reflection of our ancestral fortitude and the echoing resonance of our ongoing fight for equality. This day symbolizes not just our freedom, but also the enduring power of our community to rise, against all odds, from the deepest depths of desolation.

Every June 19th, we commemorate that hot summer day in 1865 when Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, bringing news that all slaves were free - two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation had already declared it. Can you imagine? Learning about your freedom years after it had been granted? This delay symbolizes the continuous struggle for our rights, recognition, and the respect we rightly deserve.

In honor of Juneteenth, let’s delve into our vibrant, rich cultural heritage, which is woven into the very fabric of America. Our contributions span the spectrum of society, from arts and entertainment to science, politics, sports, and beyond. Our ancestors were not just slaves but also builders, creators, innovators, and leaders whose legacies persist today.

So how can we truly honor Juneteenth?

One of the most significant ways is through education - sharing our story, our triumphs, our struggles, and our dreams with the next generation. Knowledge is power, and by arming our youth with the understanding of their roots, we enable them to grow into powerful advocates for change, justice, and equity.

As a journalist, I’ve dedicated my career to amplifying the voices of those often unheard, telling our stories with the authenticity and respect they deserve. Today, as we celebrate Juneteenth, I invite you to join me in this mission. Let’s tell our stories, not just of the suffering and injustice we’ve faced, but also of our victories, our achievements, and our pride.

Let's share tales of our grandmothers' wisdom, our fathers' resilience, our mothers' courage, our ancestors' dreams, and the vibrant tapestry that is the Black American experience. Let's highlight the entrepreneurs, the artists, the scientists, the educators, the activists that continue to shape our narrative and impact the world. Juneteenth is a day of freedom, a day of reflection, a day of celebration. It’s a day to honor our past and look forward to our future with anticipation and hope. It’s a day to raise our voices together, celebrating our shared history, and recognizing the work yet to be done.

In our collective commemoration, let's continue to fan the flames of progress and ignite the sparks of change, for the path we tread today will guide the journey of those who follow us. We are a testament to the strength of our ancestors, the vibrancy of our culture, and the power of our voices.

This Juneteenth, let’s stand proud in our truth, honor our history, and celebrate our unending journey towards equality, justice, and freedom. Because we are not just a part of American history – we are a formidable force that shapes it.

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