Today we recognize and celebrate Juneteenth. For those who may not be familiar with this holiday, Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union general Gordon Granger read federal orders in Galveston, Texas, that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free. Although the Emancipation Proclamation had formally freed African American slaves over 2 years earlier, Texas – the most remote of the slave states and with few Union forces – was the last to abolish slavery, and thus June 19th marks the effective end of slavery in the U.S.
While Juneteenth is a valuable milestone in our history, it is not the end to our country’s history of inequality. The fight for racial equity and justice continues, in urgency. We hope you’ll be able to take time today to reflect on, celebrate, or recognize Juneteenth and its significance in American history, as well as in the ongoing struggle for racial justice.