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Related Categories: Central Valley | Racial Justice
2020 Juneteenth National Holiday Convention
by Khubaka, Michael Harris
Friday Sep 11th, 2020 6:37 AM
Globally, Juneteenth is poised help expand a year round expression of Freedom marked by a new official United States of America, Federal Holiday that could begin on Saturday, June 19, 2021, as we stand on the shoulders of many ancestors preparing for an amazing new beginning.
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Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is poised to become a US Federal Holiday honoring the legacy of Pan African Heritage in the American and celebrated by people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds.

Juneteenth commemorates the agreeded upon date recognizing ending of slavery in the United States and terrorties.

The final Confederate Port on Galveston Island, Texas during the US Civil War fell on June 19, 1865 with the public announcement and enforcement of the Emancipation Proclaimation ending slavery in the states in rebellion.

June 19, the term is a portmanteau of June and nineteenth , and is recognized as a state holiday in 47 states of the United States.

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States and has actually been an African American tradition since the late 19th century.

Economic and cultural forces caused a decline in Juneteenth celebrations beginning in the early 20th century. The Depression and egregious public policies forced many blacks off of farms and into the cities to find work. In these urban environments, employers were less eager to grant leaves to celebrate freedom.

July 4th was the already established Independence holiday, and a rise in patriotism and desegregation steered more toward this mainstream celebration of American Independence from British rule.

The Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s yielded both positive and negative results for the Juneteenth celebrations.

Human and Civil Rights efforts pulled many African American youth into the struggle for racial equality, linking historical struggles of their ancestors toward a greater measure of freedom.

In 1968, after the death of Rev. Dr. Martin Kuther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee.

June 1968, on Juneteenth, at the Poor Peoples March in Washington D.C.. Rev Ralph Abernathy's called for people of all races, creeds, economic levels and professions to come to show support for the poor. Many of these attendees returned home and initiated Juneteenth celebrations in areas previously absent of such activity.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s Juneteenth continued to enjoy a growing and healthy interest from communities and organizations throughout the country as African Americans expressed a growing interest to see that the journey from slavery to freedom is not forgotten. Many see roots tying Ancestry back through the centuries of enslavement to the ancestral soul in Africa, from which many enslaved Americans trace their loss of freedom.

Near the turn of the century, in 1994, the era of the "Modern Juneteenth Movement" began when a group of Juneteenth leaders from across the country gathered in New Orleans, Louisiana, at Christian Unity Baptist Church, Rev. Dwight Webster, Pastor, expanded the work toward greater national recognition of Juneteenth.

An historic meeting was convened by Rev. John Mosley, Director of the New Orleans Juneteenth Freedom Celebration and several Juneteenth organizations were infised with new energy from this historic gathering beginning with the National Association of Juneteenth Lineage (NAJL), followed by the National Juneteenth Celebration Association (NJCA), the National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC) and the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF).

Prior to this historic gathering, Juneteenth America, Inc., (JAI) was founded by John Thompson, who organized the first National Juneteenth Convention & Expo. The National Juneteenth Celebraton Foundation (NJCF) founded by Ben Haith, the creator of the National Juneteenth Flag, was part of the historic continuum in Historic Boston.

In 1997, through the leadership of Lula Briggs Galloway, President of the NAJL and Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Chairman of the NAJL, the U.S. congress officially passed historic legislation recognizing Juneteenth as "Juneteenth Independence Day" in America.

Rev. Dr. Myers returned to Washington, DC in the year 2000, as Founder & Chairman of the NJOF, to establish the annual WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance and began the campaign to establish Juneteenth Independence Day as a National Day of Observance and help lead efforts to establish official state holiday or state holiday observance throughout all 50 states and 7 U.S. territories.

As of 2020, 47 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation to officially recognize Juneteenth. The annual Congressional Juneteenth Reception, hosted by members of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, was also established as part of the Washington DC National Holiday Observance Weekend.

As our National Juneteenth Jazz Artist, the late Rev. Dr. Myers also helped established "June Is Black Music Month!" - Celebratibg Juneteenth Jazz - "Preserving Our African American Jazz Legacy" as "June Is Juneteenth African American Jazz Legacy Month" highlighted by a series of Junetenth Jazz Heritage & Arts Festivals, concerts, jam sessions and lectures throughout the country.

Today, our National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign, is working to pass legislation in the U.S. Congress to make Juneteenth Independence Day a Federal Holiday.

Together, many old and new voices of interfaith, intercultural and intergenerational communities will come together for an National Juneteenth Convention, October 15-18, 2020 in Memphis, Tennessee to honor the past and build a positive new way forward.
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