Today is Juneteenth, a day that celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. The holiday marks the day—June 19, 1865—when enslaved Texans found out about the end of the civil war and the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation….two and half years earlier on January 1, 1863.
Several theories for the delay have been offered including that the messenger with news of freedom was murdered before they made it to Texas or that the news was deliberately withheld to maintain a labor force. All or none could be true. We may never know, but we must not forget.
While Juneteenth is marked as a day of celebration for African American freedom in the United States, we also believe it should be a time of education and reflection. Many people know little of the history of Black people in this country. History books—through words or lack thereof—have long told a narrative that doesn’t accurately describe or reflect the actual happenings of the time.
As our country continues to take to the streets to protest injustice, we encourage you to also take time to educate yourself about racial inequity, systemic racism, and how you can take action to eliminate racism in your community. Below are a few things to help get that work started:
- List of D.C.-Area Protests, Rallies And Events Planned For Juneteenth
- Learn the landscape of current racial justice events in our country. Explore this comprehensive resource. Share it with friends using tinyurl.com/blmforever.
- Systemic Racism Facts & Figures
- Read and share YWCA’s statements; each of these have accompanying social media posts:
YWCA Supports Peaceful Protests Against Police Brutality by Alejandra Y. Castillo, CEO, YWCA USA
YWCA Statement on the Murder of George Floyd: a joint statement from Gaye Adams Massey, CEO, YWCA St. Paul; Michelle Basham, MPA/ESQ, President and CEO, YWCA Minneapolis; and Alejandra Y. Castillo, CEO, YWCA USA
Read or share these resources:
- Register to Vote & Fill Out the Census
At YWCA National Capital Area, we are committed to racial justice and eliminating racism in our community today and every day. As such, we are taking time today to encourage you to learn the history of Black people in the United States and commit to continuing (or maybe beginning!) your anti-racism work.