Juneteenth: Celebrating the End of Slavery

Juneteenth hearts

Monday, June 19, 2023, is Juneteenth, one of our newest federal holidays. The goal of Juneteenth is to recognize, honor, and celebrate the end of slavery through parades, street festivals, concerts, and community cookouts.

Juneteenth celebrates Black American freedom and embodies an opportunity to come together in appreciation, commemoration, and acknowledgment of the struggles Black Americans had in the past and continue to endure. It also pays tribute to the resilience, roles, and contributions of Black Americans throughout US history and today.

Why Juneteenth? Juneteenth is a combination of the words “June” and “nineteenth.” It is in honor of the fact that on June 19, 1865, federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people were freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. The proclamation only applied to places under Confederate control and not to slave-holding border states or rebel areas already under Union control. Texas experienced no significant Union presence, and slavery continued until General Granger arrived in June of 1865. After his declaration, 250,000 enslaved people were effectively freed.

While Juneteenth is an opportunity to celebrate, it is also our collective responsibility to acknowledge that much work must be done to eliminate the structural and institutional racism that is the cause of many inequities throughout society, including higher rates of food insecurity for Black Americans.

Second Harvest will continue to partner with and provide learning and application opportunities to our team and community to build a more equitable and inclusive southwestern Wisconsin.

Juneteenth Silouettes