Celebrating Juneteenth: Commemorating the Journey Towards Equality

Today marks a day of celebration and remembering the freedom that was long sought after by enslaved people in America. On June 19, 1866 the last slaves in Galveston, Texas were informed that they were free — more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Since that day, Juneteenth has evolved into a national symbol of African American freedom and the celebration of our culture, resilience, and progress.

While African Americans have celebrated this day with family gatherings, music, food, and community events for the last 150 years, it was just three years ago that it was officially recognized as a federal holiday — finally honoring the strength and contributions of our ancestors on a national scale. This declaration has allowed for more education on the significance of this holiday and has opened up conversations about race, equity, and the work that still needs to be done.

As we celebrate Juneteenth, it is essential to reflect on the progress we have made and acknowledge the work that still lies ahead. Juneteenth is not just a celebration of freedom, but a call-to-action for the future. It’s an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible.

We do not celebrate the day the Emancipation Proclamation was signed because, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “no one is free until we are all free.” He may not have been talking about slavery, but the message is the same no matter what type of oppression we’re facing. Let today be a reminder that freedom and equality must be actively pursued and defended. And that while Juneteenth is a time of celebration, it is also a recommitment to the values of justice and equality.

Rounded T. Clark Headshot


Terrence Clark