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Happy Juneteenth from God’s Love

At God’s Love, the DEIA  steering committee has been putting together resources to recognize heritage months and holidays. Today, to recognize Juneteenth, they put together a list of resources for staff that we’ve decided to share with the general public.

What is Juneteenth? Juneteenth (which is short for “June Nineteenth”) is the commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, a Union General and his troops rode into Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War had ended, and that slaves had been freed after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.  The arrival of the union troops came a full two and half years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed. General Orders No. 3 read that: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”

Juneteenth represents liberation while it also reminds us of the scourge that slavery was and is and the impact that it still has on our country today.  It’s also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day among American Black people.

The first Juneteenth celebrations happened in 1866 to both celebrate that black people were free, but to also remember the suffering and lives lost. The celebration in 1866 had food, singing, and the reading of spirituals.  Today, Juneteenth celebrations occur all over the world as a way to recognize and honor emancipation at large.

Many of the traditional foods eaten on Juneteenth are red in color.  The use of the color red dates back to the 19th century as a way to remember and honor the blood that was shed during slavery.  Many of the traditional foods and drinks include red velvet cake, strawberry soda, watermelon, and strawberries.    Other traditional foods eaten on Juneteenth include fried chicken, barbecue beef or pork, black-eyed peas and collard greens.

This year, Juneteenth occurs as we see the continuation of the efforts of the Black Lives Matter movement to address the systemic racism in our country and as we continue to address the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Celebrating Juneteenth is a way to honor and remember that Black Lives Matter and to acknowledge all of our efforts to end racial discrimination.

This week, Congress overwhelmingly passed a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday establishing June 19 as a national day to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States.  President Biden signed the bill into law yesterday.

Want to know more about Juneteenth?

Below are some free events, some in person in the NYC area and some virtual, taking place through the weekend to commemorate Juneteenth.

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