Juneteenth Acknowledges Struggle, Perseverance of Black Americans
Monday, June 19, 2023
Today is Juneteenth, which commemorates independence for enslaved people in the United States.
In 2021, Juneteenth National Independence Day became a federal holiday. It marks the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas were told they were free - nearly two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
Now, celebrations occur across the country, including in Oregon. Equity and Work Culture Manager for Oregon Food Bank Joshua Thomas said on Juneteenth he honors his ancestors.
"It's so important for us to be able to acknowledge the day," said Thomas, "acknowledge what our ancestors went through - for us in the present moment to rest, to be able to do the things that they weren't able to do."
Events are marking the day across the country, including the Freadom Festival book event in Portland.
Rachael Lucille Van Klompenberg is the network communications specialist for Oregon Food Bank. She said Juneteenth is not just a celebration for Black people.
"For non-Black folks and non-people of color, this can represent an opportunity to recommit the work that needs to be done to combat anti-Black racism," said Van Klompenberg. "So, yes it is a holiday for Black folks to rest and restore but also a time of reflection for white people."
Christina Wright is an inventory specialist with Oregon Food Bank. She said her great-great-grandparents were enslaved - but generations who came after them struggled, including her grandparents as sharecroppers.
Wright said it's important that they kept perservering and strove to succeed.
"Their resolve, their strength is living in me and even though some things in society today feel insurmountable, it's that will, that drive that makes things better for the generations after me," said Wright. "Because I can only live the life that I live because of their strength and the very, very hard system that they lived in."
get more stories like this via email
The youngest North Carolina voters could end up shifting the political landscape of the state in the not-too-distant future. New data from the …
Protests have heightened in New York as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joins the United Nations General Assembly today. Sonya Meyerson-…
Many across the state of Nevada will celebrate National Public Lands Day tomorrow. Nevadans will be able to visit state parks for free on Saturday…
Across Utah, 10 cities will be using ranked choice voting in the general election in November. In 2018, Utah passed a bill to establish a pilot …
While North Dakota does not have voter registration, civic engagement groups say efforts are still needed to help underserved populations get …
Health and Wellness
Open enrollment begins soon for employer-sponsored health insurance for coverage starting Jan 1. Most people will have multiple options to choose …
Health and Wellness
Health care advocates are urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign four bills aiming to lower medical bills, improve transparency, and make health care more …
Rural advocates are supporting the Farmland for Farmers Act in Congress. It would restrict the amount of Iowa farmland large corporations can own…