Black people keep proving that they are resilient in the face of adversity. Hundreds of communities across the nation hosted or will host Juneteenth Day events — also known as Black Independence Day on June 19 and commemorating the end of slavery — amid rampant racial profiling incidents that show no signs of ending.
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In Oakland, more than 50 residents gathered for an annual Juneteenth Ritual of Remembrance event on Saturday (June 9), the East Bay Times reported. The event, described as an afternoon to “remember the struggles of enslaved ancestors and their continued struggle since freedom after the Civil War,” came after the city fought back against a white woman who called the police on a Black family during a park barbecue last month.
Elsewhere, an annual Juneteenth Celebration was held and featured music, fashion and African dance in Yonkers, New York over the weekend, News 12 Westchester reported. The community celebrated Juneteenth as an occasion to recognize the success and achievements of African Americans.
Dozens of other cities such as Santa Monica, California and Philadelphia — where two Black men were wrongfully arrested at a Starbucks while waiting for a business partner in April — have planned commemorations. Days of celebration kicked off Monday in Fort Worth, Texas — a state that is very important to Juneteenth history and declared the day an official state holiday in January 1980.
Juneteenth specifically highlights when Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas in 1865 with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved people were freed. The news came two-and-a-half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which was official January 1, 1863.
The Juneteenth celebrations will continue in the coming days in anticipation for June 19, which is not an official federal holiday. Forty-three of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, however, recognize Juneteenth as a ceremonial holiday.