As we approach the end of spring and the beginning of summer, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the important topic of resilience and its connection to Juneteenth.
Since the 1950s, we have always celebrated Juneteenth in Denver, CO. As a kid growing up in the Five Points neighborhood of Denver, CO, Juneteenth was always an exciting time. Each year, we would gather to celebrate with food, music, and dancing. I looked forward to it all year long.
But I never really knew what Juneteenth meant. It was just a word to me, a day to celebrate. It wasn’t until I was older that I learned the true significance of the holiday.
Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced that all slaves in Texas were free. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that all slaves in Confederate-held territory were free. But it took time for the news to reach all parts of the country.
As I learned about the history of Juneteenth, I realized how important it was to celebrate and honor this day. It wasn’t just a party, it was a day to remember the struggles and sacrifices of those who fought for freedom and equality.
Now, every year when I celebrate Juneteenth, I do so with a greater appreciation for its meaning and significance. And I hope that my community in Five Points will continue to honor this important day for generations to come.
Resilience is a quality that we all possess to some degree, but it is often tested during challenging times. The past year has been a prime example of this, as individuals and communities across the world. However, it is often during these difficult times that we see the best of humanity, as people come together to support one another and overcome adversity.
As we celebrate Juneteenth this year, we can all take inspiration from the resilience of those who came before us. We can reflect on the challenges we have faced and the strength we have found within ourselves to overcome them. We can also reflect on the work that still needs to be done to ensure that all individuals and communities have the opportunity to thrive, free from systemic barriers and oppression.