UPDATED: 9:00 a.m. June 19, 2020 —
Today marks 155 years since the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the state of Texas. June 19, 1865, is the true Independence Day for Black folks across the country and social media users are celebrating Juneteenth.
The observation takes on a new significance this year amid ongoing nationwide protests against racism and violence by law enforcement, two primary factors that taken together helped slavery thrive in America for so many centuries.
Juneteenth 2020 was taking place just weeks removed from the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was handcuffed and facedown on the pavement when an officer used his knee to apply deadly pressure to the 46-year-old’s neck in broad daylight in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. It was also less than a week removed from a police officer shooting unarmed Black man Rayshard Brooks in the back in Atlanta. The officers accused in each killing have been charged with murder.
All of this was unfolding against the backdrop of the House and Senate each unveiling their own competing police reform bills as the president signed what critics called a hollow executive order on policing.
The result has been nearly four straight weeks of protests in all corners of the country and everywhere in between as America seemingly undergoes a racial awakening of sorts, at least on the surface.
Businesses, cities and states have all been making announcements they’re making Juneteenth a paid company holiday and the number if Juneteenth celebrations and observations seem to be off the charts compared to years past. That was especially true for white people.
Juneteenth’s observation also coincides with the 99th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, when a mob of white men killed hundreds of Blacks and left thousands homeless. The few survivors of that riot alive today are still fighting for recognition and compensation.
Aside from a Juneteenth event being held in Tulsa and headlined in part by the Rev. Al Sharpton, there were dozens of rallies and marches planned in at least 46 states and Washington, D.C., taking place beginning Friday and lasting through the weekend. Organizers have said the participants will be promoting three demands, in particular: defunding the police, investing in Black communities and the resignation of Donald Trump.
Taking all of the above into account, social media users propelled several variations of Juneteenth hashtags to the top trending topics on Twitter, with people posting pro-Black memes, gifs and regular tweets declaring their pride and/or support for being Black in America.
Scroll down and check out some of the best social media reactions to Juneteenth.