Juneteenth, also known as “Freedom Day,” is observed each year on June 19 and commemorates the June 19, 1865, federal proclamation in Galveston, Texas, that ordered the emancipation of the last remaining enslaved African Americans in the former Confederate States of America.
A Juneteenth celebration will be held in Alfred today from 4-7 p.m. in front of the Village bandstand and organizers have graciously extended an invitation to members of the Alfred University, Alfred State College, and local communities. There will be music and children’s activities, and Milliner’s Southern Smoke Food Truck will be on hand. Please join me in thanking the organizers coordinating this event for extending the invitation.
While it is important that Americans acknowledge the significance of the June 19 date and to celebrate African Americans’ culture and contributions to our country, history tells us there is still so much more to be done if we are to make our nation one that truly affords fair and equal treatment of all its citizens, regardless of race. In the nearly 160 years following the freeing of slaves, racism has endured in the United States. African Americans struggled through the 1960s Civil Rights movement to achieve greater equality. As recent events have made painfully obvious, that struggle is far from over.
To build a more just society requires coming together, listening, learning, and then identifying concrete steps that can be taken. With this in mind, please consider the valuable opportunity that participating in the Juneteenth celebration, in our Village as well as in other communities around our country, provide for promoting understanding, healing, inclusivity, and positive change.
P.S. Organizers of the Juneteenth celebration in Alfred remind attendees to practice social distancing. Please bring your mask and sit with your family only.