Etched into history, Juneteenth traces its origins back to June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas when, a full two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army read General Order No. 3 that declared all slaves free. A new day full of promise and potential dawned as news of freedom finally reached enslaved Black people in the southernmost parts of the United States.

Juneteenth’s significance extends far beyond this single moment in history, however. The tradition of Juneteenth weaves a tapestry of struggle, resilience, and the unyielding pursuit of freedom. Rooted in the dark legacy of slavery and the grueling fight for emancipation, Juneteenth stands as a symbol of hope — and a reminder of the long, arduous journey toward racial justice and full equality in America. The day prompts us to examine our shared history, confront uncomfortable truths, and work collectively toward a more just, inclusive future — one that includes full political empowerment.