Happy Jubilee Day. Freedom Day. Liberation Day. Emancipation Day. These names have all been used to refer to that summer day in 1865 when the last enslaved people were notified by a Union army major that slavery had ended. They claimed a birthright that was later that same year codified in the United States Constitution as the 13th Amendment. As of today, we as a whole nation shall commemorate June 19 as a federal holiday to celebrate the abolition of that odious institution that once rocked the moral fiber of our nation.
As demonstrated earlier this year with a reckoning with the 1921 Tulsa race massacre, we are better for acknowledging our past and not hiding from it. To know history spurs each one to achieve a more just future and to do our level best to make a better version of ourselves individually and as a nation. With each year let’s resolve on this day to take note of how far we’ve traveled as a people and then come to terms with and overcome mistakes made. Juneteenth is a call to work together to embrace the power of awareness, fairness, and possibility and to become stronger as a people.