Why we celebrate Juneteenth

By Cici Lee, Guest Writer to LPJ

Juneteenth is such a special day for me. While Juneteenth commemorates the freedom of enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, on June 19,1865, it carries so much meaning for me today. It demonstrates our strength and resiliency as a culture. So many generations before us fought and held on in the midst of unimaginable trials, so that we could celebrate this day. It is a reminder of how we never gave up despite whatever obstacles were before us. I think that is still true about African Americans today. We find strength to keep going and push through the many challenges we face.  It is important that we celebrate Juneteenth because it gives us the ability to reflect on our history, respond to our present, and recognize the opportunities on the horizon of our future. It is a reminder of all that we have overcome and continue to overcome as we live today. When I think about Juneteenth, I think about the freedom that I have today. I have this freedom because of those that went before me and held on. I remember the story of my grandmother growing up on a plantation and the seeds my ancestors sowed for me to be where I am now. It is all surreal to think about how those before us paved the way. In the words of Rosa Parks, “I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would be also free.”

She and so many others are remembered as just that! 

Juneteenth is the story of our freedom. It is also a reminder that there is more work to be done- that our voices still need to be heard, and that we can do more together than apart. We are truly better together! While we fight together, we hope that others would learn our history and not just emphasize Juneteenth/Black History but truly take the time to embrace it!

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