Saturday, 18 June 2022 10:10

What is Juneteenth? Featured

Written by Donna Deaton
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What is Juneteenth? whitehouse.gov

 

Juneteenth commemorates the day news of the emancipation of slaves finally reached enslaved people in Texas--June 19, 1865. On this day, almost two and a half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, Union Army General Gordon Granger announced to enslaved people in Galveston Bay that they were no longer enslaved, but free.

In 2021, President Biden officially proclaimed June 19 as Juneteenth Day, making it a federally recognized holiday. The official White House proclamation states “Juneteenth not only commemorates the past. It calls us to action today.”

In the proclamation, President Biden called “upon the people of the United States to acknowledge and celebrate the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of Black Americans, and commit together to eradicate systemic racism that still undermines our founding ideals and collective prosperity.

“On Juneteenth, we recommit ourselves to the work of equity, equality, and justice.  And, we celebrate the centuries of struggle, courage, and hope that have brought us to this time of progress and possibility.  That work has been led throughout our history by abolitionists and educators, civil rights advocates and lawyers, courageous activists and trade unionists, public officials, and everyday Americans who have helped make real the ideals of our founding documents for all.” (whitehouse.gov)

Oklahoma has recognized Juneteenth as a day of observance since 1994 but has not yet established it as a State Holiday. Only about half of the 50 states have recognized it as an official holiday with paid time off for employees and overtime for those who work on June 19.

Because Juneteenth falls on Sunday this year, the federal holiday will be observed on Monday, June 20. All nonessential federal offices and the US Stock Market will be closed. Most banking institutions will be closed, as well as USPS (no mail delivery). UPS will be closed Sunday, June 19 and resume regular operations Monday, June 20.

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