Two years after President Abraham Lincoln gave freedom to enslaved African Americans through the Emancipation Proclamation, Union troops brought news to Galveston, Texas. More than 250,000 African Americans celebrated their freedom.

Juneteenth upholds the principles of self-determination, citizenship, and democracy, which highlight their hopes and dreams. This holiday represents deep hope and organization during uncertain times.

Juneteenth is now marked as our country’s second Independence Day and has been long celebrated within the African American community. After nationwide protests in 2020, there was a push for federal recognition of this holiday. Finally, in the summer of 2021, Juneteenth was established as a federal holiday, which allowed for global interpretation.

Although marginalized and some of the public remain unaware of this holiday, this holiday has allowed for a better understanding of the evolution of our nation and its people. Juneteenth celebrates the ongoing fight for equality in human rights. Through celebrations, faith services, musical performances, and storytelling, Juneteenth is celebrated worldwide and in many different ways.

Today, this holiday is used as an opportunity for activism and education, like service projects which aim to address racial disparities within communities.