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Reflecting and Celebrating Juneteenth

Today June 19th, 2020 Americans observe Juneteenth, Freedom Day, the oldest celebrated holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. While President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 the Civil War raged until April of 1865.  Finally, in June 1865, Union soldiers came to Texas and an order by General Granger announced that the war was over and slavery was abolished.  Since 1865, every year people gather to remember, reflect, and rejoice, commemorating the end of slavery.

The celebration of Juneteenth in 2020 happens at a moment of deep reflection in our communities and country. The Greater New York Councils, as a part of our Social Justice Pledge recognizes Juneteenth as a holiday and will be including it as such in future calendars and schedules.

As a council we recognize that today’s celebration and reflection is a part of a larger picture. We must strive for continuous improvement and strive to impart upon our youth members that opposition to racism and discrimination is the duty of every Scout, Explorer, and citizen.

 

 

Further reading resources from Princeton University

Sources:

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The Root, on PBS website: https://www.pbs.org/wnet/african-americans-many-rivers-to-cross/history/what-is-juneteenth/  This date is when Texas informed people they were free, well after the Emancipation proclamation in January of that year.

https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/teaching-juneteenth  Theme: Culture as Resistance.  Not celebrating the granting of freedom by the state but rather the historical and ongoing fight for freedom by slaves and generations of descendants.   Celebrations began annually right after 1865 in Texas and elsewhere.