Understanding Juneteenth: a celebration for all Americans

June 19, 1865, is the day that slaves in Galveston, TX learned they were free following Emancipation Proclamation.
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 5:57 PM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - June 19, also known as Juneteenth, is a new federal holiday. The day commemorated when the slaves in Galveston, Texas, learned they were free in 1865. Two years before, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared slaves’ freedom. Poor communication, transportation and issues with the war delayed the message of liberty.

On Sunday, Juneteenth celebrations took place across the country. The holiday is widely-celebrated by African-Americans, but it is an additional holiday for all Americans to recognize, educate and understand the definition of freedom.

“It’s a day we should all celebrate,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “On Juneteenth, we reaffirm the truth that all men are created equal as we celebrate the blessings of liberty.”

Texas was the first to make Juneteenth a state holiday, and the day became a federal holiday last year. Holidays like Juneteenth demonstrate the value of educating and understanding different cultures and backgrounds.

“I live for pushing different cultural perspectives in this community,” said Cultural Advocate Yoko Lawing. “Compared to bigger cities, our diversity is smaller. We need to tell people about our backgrounds because I felt disconnected between long-time residents and people from the outside.”

Celebrating Juneteenth begins with education about the holiday and what it means to Americans of various backgrounds.

“Let’s not forget about what happened and respect the fact that happened in history and celebrate those freedoms,” said Lawing.

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