What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. It commemorates the day enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, were finally made aware of the Emancipation Declaration, two and a half years after former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued it in 1863. That day was June 19, 1865.
Juneteenth now celebrates Black freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures. On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday.
Check out the official poem of Juneteenth written by Kristina Kay in 1996.
Kristina Kay Robinson
From Africa’s heart, we rose
Already a people, our faces ebon, our bodies lean,
Skills of art, life, beauty and family
Crushed by forces we knew nothing of, we rose
Survive we must, we did,
We rose to be you, we rose to be me,
Above everything expected, we rose
To become the knowledge we never knew,
Dream, we did
Act we must
How can I celebrate Juneteenth?
- Join Opal's Walk - At 90 years old, Ms. Opal Lee decided to walk to bring attention to the need for Juneteenth to be a National Day of Observance. On Saturday, June 18, Ms. Opal Lee will embark on her annual 2.5 mile walk to recognize the 2.5 years it took for the news of freedom to reach all enslaved people in the United States. Register to walk virtually with Ms. Opal from any location. Details: Opal's Walk
- Order from a Black-owned restaurant or small business in Seattle!
- Support Black artists
- Read Black authors or Black poetry
- Attend Juneteenth events in the Seattle area. Details: Seattle's Child
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