“If we remember only July 4, we not only misremember the past, we misunderstand the present.” Dolly Chugh

Have you heard of the American Holiday Juneteenth? It’s combination of the words June and Nineteen.

Point of reference: Every July 4th our country celebrates Independence day because in 1776, white Americans became free from their colonizer, England. However, black people in this country were STILL ENSLAVED because the law still allowed it.

86 years later, in 1862, Abraham Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation which proclaimed that all folks kept as slaves should be freed. However, most states did not follow through with Lincoln’s order so black people were still held in bondage even thought it was illegal.

Lincoln had to proclaim it again in 1863 for the people in the back who didn’t hear it the first time.

Almost 100 years after white Americans became free, Black Americans became free on June 19, 1865 in Galveston Texas when approximately 250,000 enslaved people were liberated.

Like July 4th, the degree of celebration varies by communities and is celebrated by both African Americans and their allies! Some use this day as a day of service.

With more awareness of this history, the celebration of June 19th or Juneteenth, this day is becoming more common.

Juneteenth is also known as Emancipation Day or Freedom Day. 45 states acknowledge Juneteenth as a holiday.

We at the YMCA of Central Ohio felt this was a very important holiday to celebrate and to bring awareness to (some of us we're also unaware!). Please join us in celebrating Juneteenth!