Juneteenth was a day I had never heard of before, until I moved to Texas while I was a teenager. I didn’t hear about it in history class but more so word-of-mouth, among other Black students and on the radio.
Juneteenth is a day that recognizes the ending of slavery in the United States. It has been observed on June 19, since 1866. On that day one year earlier, enslaved people in Texas learned of the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery, though the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed two and a half years earlier in 1863.
In 1980, Juneteenth officially became a holiday in Texas and has since been recognized by 45 other states.
With the day becoming a holiday in Texas during the 1980’s and me not learning about until the 2000’s, it made me wonder is history regional? Or am I not doing enough learning on my own?
I’ve learned to give myself grace when it comes to not knowing everything about Black history. But I open myself up to listening and embracing the stories about this historic day.
I’ve noticed over the years Juneteenth has gained more attention nationwide with celebrations even in my own community here in Illinois and now it has been declared a national holiday!
When I hear the words diversity & inclusion it’s important for me to see it beyond paper but also within the weavings and actions of an organization from outreach, leadership and those we serve. I’m glad I get to witness that every day at the Red Cross.
Written by Regional Communications Manager Drew Brown