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Understanding Juneteenth in 2020

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Today is Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.⁣⁣ At Imperfect, we’re exploring what that means and why observing it is important.

What is Juneteenth? 

Juneteenth is a holiday that celebrates the end of slavery in the U.S. It’s historically important to underline the fact that June 19th is not the date that slavery was abolished. While president Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22nd, 1862, this news didn’t reach Galveston, Texas until June 19th, 1865. Juneteenth commemorates this important day, when all enslaved people were finally liberated.

Celebrations vary by region, but often involve communal barbecues and picnics, storytelling, and music. All 50 states recognize and observe it but it’s not yet a federal holiday.

Why is Juneteenth getting new attention this year? 

Recent events have made it clear that, despite abolishing slavery 155 years ago, our country still has a lot of work to do to achieve racial justice and equity. 

“Juneteenth is a necessary moment of observation because our government and, to a certain degree, our nation and our culture has not really acknowledged the trauma of four million enslaved people and their descendants.” 

Karlos Hill, professor at the University of Oklahoma

Want to learn more? 

Here’s some of what we’re reading:

Want to do more? 

Help fund Chef Adrian Lipscombe’s 40 Acres and a Mule project, which purchases land to guarantee farm-to-table resources for the food industry, serves to provide an outlet for Black foodways, and establishes a safe haven to help secure the legacy of Black foodways.

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