On Monday, June 20, Metropolitan Family Services takes time to honor and recognize the longest celebrated African American holiday, Juneteenth.
The significance of the date is immense, and we provide only brief context as follows:
On June 19, 1865, two and a half years after signing the Emancipation Proclamation, troops marched into Galveston, Texas and announced the end of slavery to Americans still held captive. Their leaders and captors knew but chose to keep them unaware. The recognition and celebration following the news sparked the holiday we celebrate as Juneteenth.
Also known as “Freedom Day” or “Jubilee Day,” Juneteenth is a significant day in American history named by combining ‘June’ and ‘nineteenth’ for the date. Through hard-fought grassroots efforts, Juneteenth is finally recognized as a holiday at the federal and in most cases, the state, county and municipal levels.
MFS enthusiastically recognizes Juneteenth as an official holiday, giving staff a day off to acknowledge its significance through reflection, celebration and education. Acknowledgement of Juneteenth is a commitment to MFS’s mission and values to mobilize for social justice to strengthen our families and communities.
This holiday can be emotional for many, inspiring joy and sorrow as communities reflect on the lives affected by oppression and racial injustice. Because it commemorates slavery’s end, it is important to honor the day and focus on Black freedom, resilience and achievement. At the same time, because slavery set the foundation for systemic racism in the U.S. which continues to this day, Juneteenth is not only an important reminder of the past. It also provides a special opportunity to reflect on the present and look toward the future we want to create for racial justice and equity.
We invite you to take moments to reflect and to celebrate the joy of freedom.
Juneteenth celebrations focus on education, history, self-improvement, culture and pride. Traditional ways of commemorating the day include family gatherings, cultural performances, and symbolic red foods and drinks.
We encourage our Metropolitan family to celebrate in ways that are personally meaningful, whether it is supporting Black-owned businesses, enjoying local events, or partaking in your own traditions. However you decide to spend the day, let us remember the sacrifices of the past, the promise of the future, and our responsibility to advocate for just causes.
Have a fulfilling Juneteenth!