Today is Juneteenth and it is a day for celebration. It is also a day of reflection, community, and affirmations.
It was 156 years ago, when a Union general informed a group of enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, that they had been made free two years earlier by President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation during the Civil War and that the Civil War had ended two months ago with the surrender of the Confederacy.
However, slavery did not end that day. It took the ratification of the 13th Amendment later that year on December 6, 1865, for the abolition of slavery to be written in the books. Even still, racism, racial injustice, inequity, inequality and injustice continued through the Jim Crow era and continues today (one only needs to see new voting laws, or recall the February 2021 Domestic Terrorist Attacks at the nation’s Capitol).
Still, today is extra special because Juneteenth has been made an Official National Holiday, and this is the first year of the official holiday. While the day had always been celebrated by Black people and had been acknowledged by some States, it is a happy occasion to have it acknowledged by the country as a whole.
This week, Congress voted overwhelmingly (415-14 in the House; and unanimously in the Senate) to pass the law to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. That’s symbolic progress, but this is far from enough to make up for generations of discrimination and chronic and systemic racial inequality. This new federal holiday will serve as a strong reminder that we cannot run from our past and that current and future generations must continue the struggle for racial justice.
As we celebrate the ending of slavery in America, we look ahead to our ongoing fight for racial justice and how important it is for each of us to do our part.
As an expert in this field, Women Watch Afrika provides trainings as a consultant on numerous issues. For more information on training, guidance, consulting services, and/or information on working with immigrant communities contact Glory Kilanko, Founder and Executive Director, Women Watch Afrika, Inc. at 404-759-6419 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About Women Watch Afrika:
Women Watch Afrika is a grassroots, nonprofit, international, national, and local social justice organization focused on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and girls, the promotion of social and economic development and health equity of women, and the acculturation of immigrants and refugees arriving to the United States from 23 African nations.
In line with its goal, Women Watch Afrika provides Social Services, Legal Services, Advocacy, Health Education, Legal Education, End Domestic Violence classes, Stop FGM/C workshops, Know Your Rights workshops, Citizenship Preparation, Civic Engagement; and Advocates against unjust, discriminatory laws that affect the community.
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