Juneteenth: Celebration, Reflection and Action

Written by
Marley Bessette

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By: Marley Bessette and Demorrious Robinson, Insource BIPOC Affinity Group Co-Chairs

Now recognized on a federal level, some people see Juneteenth as a welcomed long weekend. But for others, Juneteenth marks a time for celebration, reflection, and action.

Take a moment to imagine the unrelenting sun bearing down on restless bodies working the fields.  Envision the shackles and injustice that are not only bound to flesh, but generations of dreams forgotten and crushed.   Envision the weight of dehumanization and mistreatment that would invade every aspect of life. But there, in the darkness, a flicker of hope persisted.

Juneteenth (a portmanteau for June Nineteenth) marks the day that General Gordon Granger and his troops reached Galveston, Texas in 1865, years after the Emancipation Proclamation was officially issued, to present General Order No. 3, proclaiming the emancipation of enslaved individuals.  Although emancipation didn’t happen overnight for everyone, celebrations ignited among newly freed Black People, birthing Juneteenth.

Juneteenth’s legacy extends beyond a single day of celebration.  It teaches us that true freedom is an ongoing journey, a continuous battle against systematic injustice.  Juneteenth challenges all of us to confront the harsh truths of history, acknowledge what has been accomplished, and what must continue to be done.  The battle for equity and justice is far from over, and we must do our part in this fight.  This holiday paints a picture of resilience, echoing the resolve of heroes like Harriett Tubman, Fredrick Douglass, and countless others who strove for justice in the face of adversity.  We should strive to do the same.

This Juneteenth let’s vow to do our part to build a world that truly embodies freedom and equity for all. Continue to educate yourself and engage in meaningful conversations, support Black-owned businesses, and advocate for true, systemic change. While your changes may be small, our collective efforts will continue to fuel hope for a bigger, brighter future.