At Achievement, we celebrate the connection between identity and whole person health. In this spirit, we honor Juneteenth (short for “June 19th”) which marks the end of slavery in the United States.
While Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1863, only a tiny number of people were actually freed at that point.
In Texas, the last enslaved African Americans were declared free two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation and two long months after the fall of the city of Richmond.
Juneteenth, which commemorates the anniversary of that historical event, June 19th, 1865, has been observed and celebrated ever since.
Juneteenth is not just a pivotal landmark in American history for many Black Americans, but a representation of independence, freedom, and hope. A moment in time where the road to equality seemed more visible than it had ever been. Some of the most impactful pioneers in the history of civil rights were born from the breath of life that June 19th generated.
Juneteenth festivals could be observed extending from one state to another as formerly enslaved individuals relocated throughout the country.
Juneteenth celebrations commonly included singing, dancing, and coming together over food and fellowship.
Some of the first sightings of Black fashion have been connected to Juneteenth celebrations as clothing was a vital part of these festivities.
One way for formerly enslaved people to celebrate their emancipation was by wearing bright and vivid attire that they were unable to wear while enslaved. There are significant connections between those early festivities and modern-day Juneteenth gatherings that exist today.
While we celebrate Juneteenth this weekend, let’s use this as an opportunity to remember that the fight for equality and liberty for Black Americans is not yet finished. Many injustices persist, and we must reflect on their impact on health and identity.
Today we fight to bridge the gap to access essential resources, education, healthcare, and equal opportunities, and representation that one day will be celebrated in ways that Juneteenth has paved the way for.
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