​​​​​​What is Juneteenth?

A time to further the conversation about racism and slavery. An opportunity for self-education (exploring all of the story versions).

Juneteenth is when there was noted to be freedom from slavery in the U.S.

The place was Galveston, Texas in 1865 when troops arrived two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. While the Emancipation Proclamation was signed January 1, 1863, it really did not free enslaved people, as it only applied to certain places and slaves under certain conditions.

In Texas slave owners ignored the Emancipation Proclamation and slavery continued in Texas for more than 2 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. The message delivered there in 1865 was General Orders No 3: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”

So let’s consider Juneteenth a day of reflection as opposed to a holiday or celebration. We simply should think about freedom, equity, and equality as it was intended by the Founding Fathers and ask are we as a country really there—given the disparities and events experienced by people of color over the years—and ask, what can we do? What can I do?

Like the Solomon Burke song says, “None of us are free if one of us is chained."

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