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June 19 marks Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of liberation from slavery in the United States.
On June 19, 1865, a group of enslaved people in Galveston, Texas learned that they had been freed from enslavement. This was nearly two and a half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
While Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom from enslavement, the holiday also recognizes the devastating delay of emancipation for enslaved people living within the deepest footholds of the Confederacy. Of course, the end of slavery did not end racialized, state-sanctioned violence in the United States. Today, Juneteenth represents a commemoration of progress and a need for comprehensive racial justice.
In 1866, newly-freed Black folks celebrated the first Juneteenth commemorating freedom from enslavement with food, song and spirituals. To this day, Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom and a call for education and envisioning better futures. In April of this year, Oregon lawmakers in the House approved a bill making Juneteenth a legal state holiday.
This year, Juneteenth will be celebrated through protest, community, healing and joy. It will also be celebrated as it has been traditionally: with cookouts, parades and church gatherings.
CCC recognizes the deep significance of Juneteenth by offering it as a paid holiday for our staff. We remain committed to continued racial justice and the end to anti-Black racism in our community and beyond.