Juneteenth, aka Emancipation Day, is a paid holiday for the Northside Achievement Zone staff. This has been a celebrated holiday by African Americans for decades and our staff will be out of office.
On June 19, 1865, the last enslaved descendants of Africans were informed of their freedom in Galveston, Texas. That announcement marked the true end of slavery in America, although the Emancipation Proclamation had been the law of land since January of 1863. For more than two years, the violence and brutality of slavery continued to be practiced illegally in Texas and in pockets throughout the United States, well after the Civil War ended slavery.
Juneteenth, a holiday of celebration and community healing, began in 1866, celebrated by the newly freed African Americans and spread throughout Black communities across the country. Today, Juneteenth is a day of powerful community connection, service, and remembrance. It attests to the strength, dignity, and resiliency of African Americans in the face of racism and oppression. The holiday has largely stood as a reminder to African-Americans of the truth of freedom too long denied in America, but it is our hope that all Americans will embrace and celebrate the historical significance of this holiday as an act of solidarity, healing, and love.
Honoring American History and our dedication to a more racially just future through the celebration of Juneteenth is but a small thing we can do for our greatest organizational asset, our staff, and to advance healing and equity in our city and state. This Juneteenth, we will celebrate by being in service to our community with a reverence for the past and envisioning a future where Black bodies are free from the violence and bondage of our defective justice system, brutality at the hands of police, and the opportunity gaps that suppress the unlimited potential of African Americans.