Happy Juneteenth!

Today marks the third year of Juneteenth, celebrating the day that the last African American slaves were told they had been freed. 

The History

While several organizations and individuals were responsible for bringing this fundamental legislative dream into a reality, the national reckoning over race ignited by the 2020 murder of George Floyd by police helped set the stage for Juneteenth to become the first new federal holiday since 1983, when martin Luther King Jr Day was created.  

The National Juneteenth Observation Foundation (NJOF), a major contributor to this effort, has been promoting the national recognition of Juneteenth Independence Day for nearly 25 years.  NJOF has been instrumental in the passage of bills in more than 40 states and the District of Columbia.  The “NJOF advances the right of Freedom through its initiatives including education, health, music, art, and technology, creating opportunities for a better life for all.  By focusing on these key building blocks the NJOF movement creates long-lasting community change.  The NJOF is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change.” 

The mission of NJOF, “to bring all Americans together to celebrate our common bond of freedom through the recognition, observance, education, and historic preservation of Juneteenth in America” is not meant to create more barriers around our differences, instead it’s intended to bring forth a deeper, more cultural sense of community, built on the philosophy of honoring and acknowledging the wide spectrum of race, culture, religion, sexual orientation, and abilities that we see in our world every day.

As a leader in advocation for individuals with varied abilities, we navigate a similar battle of recognition and equal opportunity.  To continue paving a path for all children and adults to feel respected, valued, and accepted in the future, it’s up to every single one of us to lead by example in choosing a walk of life that promotes tolerance and education over indifference and judgement.  

2024 Theme

The theme of Black History Month this year is African Americans and the Arts, exploring the key influence African Americans have had in the industry of “visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary and other forms of cultural expression.” Visit the Association for the Study of African American Life and History to learn more! 

Join us in celebrating the evolution of our nation and its people and recognizing the ongoing fight for human rights and equality!

Looking for ways to celebrate or acknowledge Juneteenth this year?  Head over to MPR News for a complete list of Juneteenth festivities: Where to celebrate Juneteenth around Minnesota | MPR News 

-Terrina White, Development Coordinator

(2024, January 29).
Black History Month. History.com. Retrieved June 16, 2024, from https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/black-history-month 
NJOF (n.d.). America’s Official Juneteenth Foundation. National Juneteenth. Retrieved June 16, 2024, from https://www.national-juneteenth.org/main 

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