Observance of a People’s Resilience: Juneteenth 

By: Laila Hopkins

For as long as I can remember, my mother and I have celebrated Juneteenth in meaningful ways, making it a cherished tradition in our family. Every year, we dive into activities that celebrate our heritage and reflect on the Black experience in America. We’ve attended lively cookouts where the aroma of barbecued delicacies fills the air, joined vibrant festivals bursting with music, dance, and community spirit, and explored museums that tell the powerful stories of our ancestors. These moments not only bring us closer together but also deepen our understanding and appreciation of our history, reminding us of the resilience and strength of our community.

Every year on June 19th, communities across the United States come together to celebrate Juneteenth, a day that holds profound significance in American history. Juneteenth commemorates the moment in 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of the Civil War along with the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. This declaration came more than two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, highlighting the slow and uneven process of freeing enslaved individuals across the country.

Juneteenth is a powerful reminder of the undying determination of African Americans who endured centuries of slavery and fought tirelessly for their freedom and rights. It serves as a celebration of African American culture, history, and contributions to society. Ultimately, Juneteenth is a time for reflection on the ongoing struggles for racial equality and justice, highlighting the progress made and the work still required to achieve true equality. By celebrating Juneteenth, we acknowledge the strength and spirit of those who fought for freedom and commit to continuing the pursuit of justice for all.

This year, I plan to spend Juneteenth with my mother, enjoying a concert by influential Black women in the Rhythm and Blues music scene and savoring delicious food. It’s essential for Black people to celebrate this day in ways that resonate with them while keeping its original purpose in mind. I eagerly anticipate the coming Juneteenth holidays and the possibilities they hold.