The Emancipation Proclamation was issued more than two years before the Juneteenth announcement. The delay was due to Texas still being under Confederate control. Freedom finally came on June 19, 1865, when some 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas. The army announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state, were free by executive decree.
The Emancipation Proclamation only applied to states that had seceded from the United States, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border states. Fast forward some four hundred plus years and we commemorate Juneteenth as a federal holiday.
Yes, progress has been made for all that are descendants of those who were enslaved, however the country cannot ignore the ways in which racial equality still remains out of reach on many fronts for Black Americans. Making Juneteenth a federal holiday doesn’t change any of the systems of oppression that got us here in the first place. Though this day is meant to focus on the celebration of freedom it also serves as a sobering reminder of just how much still needs to be done.
There can be general awkwardness people can feel around their place on this holiday. Often because systematic racism is still so prevalent in our society. It’s a chance to solemnly admit our shameful past and not dismiss the affects that we are still managing today. This day is for anyone who is against enslaving people. This day is for all Americans. This day can stand as a reminder that there is hope we can be better, and proof that massive change is possible.
At the Collective we ask that you join us in reflecting today on our history, how that history affects your life and our country to this day, and how you and your loved ones will observe this holiday together.
Because reflection can lead toward the desire to take action we also wanted to provide you with this link to our Anti-Racist Resources page filled with information recommended personally by members of our management, staff, desk angels and students.
by Ashley Adams, Founder and Owner of Black Prāṇa Magazine and Partner in the 200hr Yoga Teacher Training at the Bella Prāṇa Wellness Collective in Tampa, Florida.