On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, which made Juneteenth a federal holiday. This is a contribution to recognizing the partial freedom of African Americans in this country. On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger and his troops traveled to Galveston, Texas to announce General Order No. 3, the ending of slavery in the United States. This heroic accomplishment came over two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil War had ended.
Juneteenth is the nation’s eleventh federal holiday.
One of the driving forces behind this change in history was a 95-year-old African American female named Opal Lee. An activist and educator, who fought to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. Lee walked 1,400 miles from Texas to Washington, D.C., which took two and a half years. Today, in countries with slavery still existing, there are over twenty-seven million people who are still victims of slavery. The signing of Juneteenth sheds light on the many Civil Rights activists who died fighting for equal rights. Although advancements have been made over time, we still face atrocities based on the color of one’s skin.
There is still work to be done.
Today, we have a new generation comprised of all ethnicities who are changing the channels of communication through social media. Technology promotes transparency and partnerships to promote activism and social justice. Juneteenth is a cause for celebration, which may include delicious food and music. However, the brutality of slavery will never be forgotten.
At RiverSpring Living, my colleagues and I created a committee called the IDEAL Team, which stands for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Affinity and Love. Together, we will embrace and treat everyone with the same quality of life and dignity that every human being deserves.
Chadwick Boseman, the acclaimed actor, once said:
“When I dared to challenge the system that would relegate us to victims and stereotypes with no clear historical backgrounds, no hopes or talents, when I questioned that method of portrayal, a different path opened up for me, the path to my destiny.”
Our challenge on this Juneteenth, and every day, is to challenge ourselves to think differently about one another. To embrace our differences. To respect one another unconditionally. And perhaps most of all, to question.
RiverSpring Living Executive Assistant
IDEAL Team Member