Happy Juneteenth. Juneteenth is a celebration and remembrance of the announcement that the last of the enslaved people in the confederacy were free, over two years following the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous day occurred on June 19, 1865, when General Gordon Granger, alongside 2,000 Union troops, arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas and issued order No. 3, establishing the Union Army’s authority over the people of Texas, and thus freeing the remaining 250,000 enslaved individuals in the state. The day became known as “Juneteenth” by the newly freed people in Texas.
Of course, the announcement of freedom and order No. 3 did not result in instant prosperity for the newly freed individuals, who continued to endure violence and forced labor at the hands of white people despite their legal independence. However, Juneteenth provided a day for the Black people of Texas, with the aid of the Freedmen’s Bureau, to rally around, celebrating resilience and hope in the face of over 200 years of enslavement. As Black people presently continue to strive for equality and true liberation 155 years following order No.3, Juneteenth remains a day of vibrant celebration throughout the United States.
Although originating in Texas, migrations of Black people throughout the United States spread celebrations across the country. Today, parades and festivals are held annually in many major cities, and the momentous day is celebrated with family reunions, visits to African American historical museums and sites, readings and discussions of historical literature, and many more activities. You can find ways to celebrate Juneteenth in Philadelphia with your family here.
This year marks the first year that Juneteenth is recognized as a city-wide holiday in Philadelphia and is observed statewide in Pennsylvania. Many workplaces are participating by pausing work for the day to reflect upon and explore anti-racist media and materials. I have compiled some great resources, including those specifically geared to parenting. I hope you find the materials informative and helpful.
Additionally, PFP is co-sponsoring the Philly Queer March for Black Lives this Sunday, June 21st at 1:30pm starting at Love Park. This event will connect members of local Black and LGBTQ+ communities and their allies to march in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in Philadelphia. We will center and celebrate the intersection of Black and LGBTQ+ communities by recommitting to the fundamental principles guiding the first “Pride” and the Stonewall Riots of 1969. Speakers will share personal perspectives and emphasize the importance of equality and visibility for all, specifically highlighting our Black and Brown siblings. Please see the Facebook event page for more information.
SAFETY NOTE: This is a peaceful event, is unpermitted and will *not* be coordinated with law enforcement. Social distancing, wearing masks and taking other COVID-19 health and safety precautions is essential at this event.
Post written by Taylor Goldberg, PFP Intern