Juneteenth Is Today. What It Means Why It Matters How To Celebrate
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[ Juneteenth] is today. A combination of the words June and 19th, the holiday marks the freedom of enslaved Black people in the US. Already widely celebrated in Black communities, the day is drawing more attention this year. In light of the [/news/how-to-find-a-black-lives-matter-protest-where-you-live/ Black Lives Matter protests] against police brutality, sparked by the deaths of [/news/tech-companies-say-they-support-george-floyd-protests-heres-whats-happening/ George Floyd], [ Breonna Taylor], [ Ahmaud Arbery], [ Rayshard Brooks] and others, more Americans are observing the day.
Juneteenth is also known as Freedom Day or Jubilee Day. It is commemorated or observed to some degree in [ nearly all US states]. But major alarme.asso.fr companies like [/news/twitter-spotify-lyft-and-others-make-juneteenth-an-official-company-holiday/ Spotify, Twitter and Lyft] have recently added Juneteenth to their calendars for the first time. Google made Juneteenth an official calendar holiday this past week. (Apple's calendar already noted it.)
The national focus has resulted in a sudden [ push to make Juneteenth a national holiday], including a [ petition] with real momentum. Some companies and organizations are also [ giving employees the day off] to observe the holiday, including Nike, Target and the NFL. On Friday, entrepreneur Elon Musk agreed to make Juneteenth a [/news/elon-musk-tesla-spacex-juneteenth-holiday/ permanent US holiday for his companies Tesla and Space X].
If you're looking for ways to observe or celebrate Juneteenth this year, we've gathered a list of ideas for you.
Watch: [/news/hbos-watchmen-is-free-to-watch-this-weekend/ HBO's Watchmen, which starts with the real-life 1921 Tulsa massacre, is free to watch this weekend]
Black Lives Matter: How you can take action today
Juneteenth history: How it came to signify the end of slavery
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger [ arrived in Galveston, Texas] and [ read a federal order] abolishing the institution of slavery in the state:
"The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor."
The moment was significant. Texas had been the last of the Confederate states where enslavement continued, despite President Abraham Lincoln's [ Emancipation Proclamation] to end slavery in 1863 and despite the end of the Civil War on April 9, 1865. Texas was the most remote state in the Confederacy, and it took Union forces until June to reach Texas in sufficient numbers to announce and enforce the federal order that ended slavery there. (The [ 13th Amendment], which added the abolishment of slavery to the Constitution, passed Congress in January 1865, but wasn't ratified and adopted until December 1865.)
Since June 19, 1865, Americans have observed and celebrated Juneteenth as Emancipation Day, a day of freedom. In 1980, Texas began marking Juneteenth as an [ official state holiday], the first state to do so. Now, nearly all states commemorate or observe Juneteenth to some degree.