On June 19, 1865 — two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation — enslaved people in Galveston, Texas learned that they were finally free. They were informed by General Gordon Granger and his Union troops who declared this:
“All slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”
From that day forward, June 19 came to be celebrated as Juneteenth. Black Americans did not achieve equality of rights that day as General Granger said, but freedom was still something to celebrate while equality is something to fight for.
The celebration of Juneteenth has ebbed and flowed on a national scale since its first celebration. But this year, it takes on a different meaning. This Juneteenth coincides with the civil unrest and amplified demands for racial equality and justice that have spread across our country and the world. Black activists and allies are still in the streets, online, in city council meetings, at their statehouses, and contacting Congress demanding change.
This Juneteenth, I’m asking you to take a couple actions against racism, and then to join all of us at the DNC in celebrating Black history:
Watch and share this video to learn more about Juneteenth from Black DNC staff.
Voter roll purges overwhelmingly impact Black, student, and minority voters. Thanks to the DNC Tech Team, we just rolled out a tool for Democratic state parties and campaigns to engage with purged or inactive voters and help get them back on the rolls. Learn more about this important new DNC tool by clicking here.
Tune into the National Museum of African American History & Culture’s all-day Juneteenth virtual programming for some social-distancing celebration right here.
Juneteenth is a celebration of the strength and resilience of Black Americans in this country, but a celebration doesn’t mean the work is done. We’ve got a long way to go, Jeffrey, but today you can take action by getting involved with anti-racism organizations and resources on our website and learning more about Juneteenth.