Written by CSULB Black Faculty & Staff Community
Amid recent events of racial violence and anti-Black racism, a celebration doesn’t seem appropriate at this time. But as we navigate how to use our voice to help change the course of history, we recognize our history, not just as African Americans but as Americans.
Juneteenth, also known as Jubilee Day or Freedom Day, is celebrated on June 19, to commemorate June 19, 1865. The Emancipation Proclamation was announced in the state of Texas on this day and was the last of the Confederate States to enforce the Executive Order that “all persons held as slaves are, and henceforth shall be free.”
A civil war was the defining event of that time, where Americans were forced to confront the ramifications of racial inequality and put into place reforms to align with its professed values. We find ourselves in the same position where we must confront racial inequality in 2020, and pressure our national, state, and local leaders to enact sustainable reform in our social and legislative policies. We honor Juneteenth to uplift those who have suffered by the hands of racial violence and police brutality from the enslaved to Emmitt Till to George Floyd, and the countless others with no voice. We honor Juneteenth to encourage and support those who are on the frontlines of protests today.
As we reflect on Juneteenth, the hope is that we bring awareness to this monumental day as we challenge racism and call for change. We will continue to celebrate the historical contributions of African Americans.