Celebrating Juneteenth Independence Day
Juneteenth is a “Freedom Day“ celebration of the moment enslaved Black people living in Galveston, TX received “The Good News” of freedom nearly two and half years after President Lincoln's signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. While Juneteenth remembrance marks the end of racial chattel slavery in the United States, the pursuit of Equality, Justice and the benefits of full citizenship remain elusive for many Black people. Before we can repair the harm that slavery and anti-Black racism has caused this country, we must grapple with our history. We commemorate Juneteenth as a celebration of freedom and a reminder never to take that freedom for granted.
Like many others, the shared trauma of the killing of George Floyd prompted us to deepen our commitment to anti-Black racism and racial equity. Last year, our board of directors made Juneteenth a Nourish California holiday, in solidarity with the movement to make Juneteenth Independence Day a federal holiday. Our observation of the day provides us the opportunity to reflect on the Black American protracted struggle for freedom.
Commemorating Juneteenth is a unifying experience—it asks us to collectivity acknowledge the evils of slavery by celebrating its ending. And because news of liberation was delayed for the enslaved in the deepest parts of the former Confederacy, Juneteenth also reminds us how justice for Black Americans has always been delayed.
Nourish California has an urgent focus on improving access to food for Californians who face the greatest needs and the starkest inequities. As of March 2021, Black Californians are twice as likely to be food insecure than white Californians. This Juneteenth, we recommit ourselves to working with intention to dismantle structural racism that excludes Black Californians, and other people of color, from good health and opportunity.
This year, the long sought-after goal of making Juneteenth a national holiday became a reality. On June 16th, the House passed legislation to make Juneteenth a national holiday after the Senate unanimously passed the bill one day prior. Today, President Biden will sign it into law.
Celebrate Juneteenth Independence Day!
Here are some ideas for commemorating Juneteenth.
Learn about the symbolism of the Juneteenth flag.