Are you wondering why your classes are canceled on Monday, June 20, 2022? Juneteenth, which many people refer to as Freedom Day, is a new federal holiday that celebrates the freedom of those who were enslaved. Juneteenth is a day of emancipation, celebration, and reflection.
What is Juneteenth?
In the Emancipation Proclamation of 1862, Abraham Lincoln ordered that all slaves were to be set free by January 1, 1863. Unfortunately, this news was kept from the slaves in Galveston, Texas, and it wasn’t until June 19 (Juneteenth) 1865, that troops came to spread the news to guarantee freedom amongst those enslaved. The emotional variety that accompanied this announcement included shock, joy, and relief from nearly three years of missing information. Juneteenth is more than just a federal holiday; it is a day where African Americans get to celebrate the liberation of our ancestors while reflecting upon African American culture!
What is the significance of Juneteenth?
After centuries of pain and suffering, Juneteenth allowed for progressive advancement amongst African Americans. Opportunity was created, and people were able to chase after their wildest dreams while paving the way for generations to come. The beautiful part about Juneteenth is being able to witness generations all come together to celebrate with such an authentic yet diverse culture. From events as big as parades to as small as a family cookout, Juneteenth is a day of celebration in the African American community!
What can YOU do on Juneteenth?
When it comes to Juneteenth, people tend to participate in performative activism, and this action is very damaging. Ways in which you can positively have an impact on Juneteenth is to learn, educate, and hold everyone accountable. To learn, one can read about Black history, achievements, and culture. Then, the next step would be to educate others around you so they, too, can be informed. Finally, you should hold everyone in your space accountable by hearing people out, having uncomfortable conversations, and spending time in spaces where everyone may not look like you.
Looking for events to participate in?
On June 15, 2022, the University of Utah is hosting a Juneteenth Day of Freedom Summit from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. This summit is hybrid, but you must register if you wish to attend in person. The event will consist of lunch, hybrid activities, and conversations with diverse community leaders. Another opportunity to learn more about Juneteenth is Learning, Preserving, & Telling the Stories on June 21, 2022, from 9 – 10 a.m. at the Park Building. Salt Lake City is also hosting several events in the community. Find more info here.
Now, how will you participate in celebrating Juneteenth?
Kamryn Monroe is a Marketing + Communications intern for the David Eccles School of Business. She is a sophomore and marketing major attending Howard University from Windsor, Connecticut. After college, she hopes to work in an innovative, diverse space where strategy and creativity collide.