The Juneteenth holiday marks the anniversary of June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to enforce the liberation of more than 250,000 slaves who remained in bondage. This occurred more than two years after the President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation Jan. 1, 1863, which declared that all enslaved people in Confederate states “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. African Americans used this opportunity to cherish and celebrate their culture and uplift their heritage for more than 150 years before President Biden declared it an official federal holiday on June 17, 2021.
The Tri-C community must come together to recognize this and other major U.S. events that can bring us closer to our collective goal of full inclusion, equality and justice for all. To create a fair society that recognizes the contributions of all of its members and celebrates the diversity that makes our nation strong means, each of us must do our part to learn, appreciate and respect those whose experiences differ from our own.
Let us stand together as an institution to celebrate and recognize the advancement of our nation.