The Juneteenth holiday celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. The holiday has been celebrated annually since 1865, when on June 19, African-Americans in Texas learned of their freedom.
The Civil War ended two months earlier, enabling Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 to be enacted in the southern states. General Granger’s announcement began, “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”
Some 250,000 former slaves erupted with songs of jubilee, and celebrated with pig roasts and rodeos. Thus began the Juneteenth tradition of celebrating freedom.
The founding ideals written into the Declaration of Independence did not apply to 4 million enslaved Americans until 100 years later with the Emancipation Proclamation. Another 100 years later came the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Juneteenth is usually honored with readings of the Emancipation Proclamation, parades, red food, and beverages — including strawberry soda — and educational events. It is a time for people to come together and lift each other up, while remembering the past and determining to make a better future.
During the coronavirus outbreak, Juneteenth celebrations are offered online, providing a greater outreach opportunity. Black Lives Matter Seattle/King County is hosting free Juneteenth celebrations online all week through Sunday (June 21).
Events will include children’s programs, yoga, parenting courses, workshops, films, music, cooking, and museum presentations.
Each morning starts with a children’s program from the Teaching with Love and Care Learning Center (TLC). The morning exercise is designed to teach young people tools for self-check ins and regulation.
On Thursday afternoon, the Technology Access Foundation (TAF) students share their experiences. TAF is a nonprofit after school program providing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) support to public schools. STEM is used as a tool for “realizing social change and educational equality in low-income communities and underrepresented communities.”
Most evenings offer a film or musical concert. Each event will be uploaded to https://urbanleague.org/juneteenth-week-2020 on the scheduled date, and will be available for people to revisit at any time.
Celebrate and honor Juneteenth through education, music and art this week. More information on presenters and events can be found at http://www.urbanleague.org/juneteenth-week-2020.