Juneteenth, the nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, is celebrated annually on June 19th. Juneteenth falls during Pride, a month where the country celebrates and elevates those in the LGBTQIA+ community. The Mid-America LGBT Chamber recognizes these two events do not - and should not - be mutually exclusive but instead celebrated together through their shared goal of empowerment and recognition.
We lift up the black community and celebrate this day alongside them, though noting that the ending of slavery in the U.S. did not come with President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. The final abolishment of slavery did not end until two and a half years later, on June 19th, 1865, with the arrival of Major General Gordon Granger's troops in Galveston, Texas, bringing both the news of the war's end and the announcement that those enslaved were now free.
A Presidential proclamation was not enough to unify the United States people in the idea of human rights. This parallels the all-too-real and current struggles that the black community continues to face over 150 years later. We recognize these struggles and will continue to use our voice to bring attention to them and the injustices experienced by black communities. We are thankful that a huge step has been taken forward with the recent proclamation of Juneteenth National Independence Day as a federal holiday.
Today, we celebrate our Nation's Black community. We honor you. We thank you for everything you are, all you have given to this world, and how you make it better.
Together - we are better. Together - we are empowered. Today and every day that follows.