Reston, VA – Nearly one year ago to the day, the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act was signed by President Biden. On Monday, June 20th, we will observe Juneteenth, a profound day with a significant history and meaning. It is the day we remember the moral injustices and the devastation slavery had on people of African descent in our Country. The 11th Federal holiday also reminds each of us of our incredible capacity to recognize the devasting hardships put upon African Americans, our Nation’s ability to start the healing process, and make progress toward advancing and emerging from our darkest moments with great purpose and resolve.
On June 19, 1865, roughly 90 years after our Nation was founded, and more than two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, enslaved Americans in Texas finally received word that they were free. In the Spring of 1865, General Granger marched into Galveston, Texas, the last hold out for slavery in the Confederate South, which initiated the freeing of 250,000 slaves. As celebrations ensued, Juneteenth was born.
One year later on June 19, 1866, the first of the annual celebrations in Texas began with “Jubilee Day” and it continued as a day of food, music, prayer, and other activities until 1980 when Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday. Juneteenth moved to the forefront in 2020 due to the nationwide protests highlighting police brutality against African-Americans; the racial inequities in the justice system, and the legacies of slavery. The color red is symbolic for Juneteenth as it represents “from the middle passage to George Floyd, our blood has been spilled across America,” according to Steve Williams, president of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation. Last year, on June 17, President Biden officially established Juneteenth as a national holiday. Amyx was proud to recognize Juneteenth as a holiday in 2021, using the day to recognize our history and reflect on the work yet still to be accomplished.
We all have a role to play in building a better America today and for future generations. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle and the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” Amyx is proud to observe Juneteenth together as an important step in this journey.
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