Juneteenth — Celebrating a Better Tomorrow

By Jim Wambach | June 19, 2020

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.” – Delivered by Major General Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865 in Galveston, TX to the people of the State of Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation

Juneteenth Celebration

Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom and a better tomorrow. Today, let us reflect on how we can make our unfinished democratic system truly equal for all.

The response of Major General Gordon’s reading of the order — 2 ½ years after the Emancipation Proclamation — was for the freed slaves to celebrate their first taste of freedom. They looked forward to a better tomorrow. And each year, they recounted Juneteenth with celebrations, spurring them on despite the pressures they encountered. Over the decades the celebration of the importance of June 19,1865 has grown across the country.

On this Juneteenth, we celebrate with our African American friends and neighbors who, to this day, yearn for a better tomorrow. I see that every day in the smiles and faces of the children we serve, many of whom are African American. They are full of unbound potential, creativity, and enthusiasm. The boys and girls in our math and reading clinics are eager to learn and soak up knowledge. The youth in our CareerBridge program eagerly explore careers that will tap into their brilliance and potential. A better tomorrow.

As we celebrate Juneteenth this year, let’s continue to encourage each other to better listen, examine, and learn how we can make our wonderful democratic system, truly wonderful for all.

Just as the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 was an unfinished law in the land until 1865, the United States of America is an unfinished democracy. It is time for the barriers to racial justice, equality, and equity to be removed, once and for all.