Written by Dora “Duaa Rahemaah” Williams, SSVF Case Manager and GIIN Diversity & Inclusion Committee member
On June 19th millions of people around the world celebrate Juneteenth. A day of remembrance created by freed slaves, Juneteenth is also known as Juneteenth Independence Day, Freedom Day, or Emancipation Day. This celebration marks the day Texas finally declared slaves freed on June 19, 1865.
The Emancipation Proclamation came into effect on January 1, 1863. At that time, Texas was largely controlled by forces fighting for the Confederate States, which opposed the abolition of slavery. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived to take control of Texas and enforce the emancipation of slaves in the state. In Galveston, Texas, the newly freed slaves held large public celebrations and so laid the base for future Juneteenth activities.
Juneteenth is one of the oldest celebrations acknowledged by African Americans/Blacks. 'Juneteenth' results from the words 'June Nineteenth' being slurred together in speech.
Juneteenth is observed in every state except Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and South Dakota. On Jan 1, 1980 Juneteenth became an official holiday in Texas. In 2001, Idaho was the 5th state to recognize and pass Juneteenth as a state holiday, and Washington state followed in 2007.
How does the community celebrate Juneteenth?
Juneteenth is celebrated in different ways; parades, BBQ’s, family picnics, art, food, education and history of the African American/Black culture, guest speakers, and/or music.
Are there any local Juneteenth celebrations?
The Inland Northwest Juneteenth Coalition is hosting their 8th annual Juneteenth celebration on June 16, 2018 at Liberty Park from 2-5pm. This event is free and will be a family reunion type of affair with music, food, and activities for both kids and adults. Liberty Park is located off East Third Avenue and Liberty Park Place, just south of I-90.
They are also hosting their 4th Annual Father Days Event, which is also a free event that uplifts and celebrates the importance of fathers/fatherhood. This event will take place Sunday, June17 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center (formerly the East Central Community Center), located at 500 S. Stone from 2:30-5 pm.
How can I learn more?
For more information about Juneteenth, you can read these sources online: