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  • Writer's pictureFrank Finamore

From Frank ... | June 18

This weekend, on June 19th, we celebrate a new federal holiday for the first time. Juneteenth recognizes the emancipation of enslaved African Americans and commemorates the date - June 19, 1865 - that Union Army General Gordon Granger shared news of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas.

His announcement came two and a half years after President Lincoln had issued the emancipation order, but the news had not been shared in Texas until Union forces arrived at the end of the war. Celebrations of the day began as early as 1866 among churches in Texas. Eventually, those celebrations continued within other Southern states and eventually throughout much of our nation but it wasn’t until yesterday, June 17, 2021 that Congress and President Biden recognized Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

I am always amazed, and frankly a bit horrified, that when I went through public school, I never learned about such things as Juneteenth or the Tulsa Massacre. In fact, I don’t think it was until I went to graduate school at American University that I ever learned anything about diversity in a classroom setting.

As I was reading the website for ONE DC Juneteenth in DC, a banner flashed on the screen that said “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.” It made me wonder what changes I can make in my own life which might help others be more free. Want to join me and others in a Village discussion group on the topic? If so, send me an email and we’ll get a discussion group started.

How DC is Celebrating Juneteenth:

  • The West façade of the National Cathedral will be illuminated

  • ONE DC Juneteenth in DC, located at 2500 Martin Luther King Junior Avenue SE, will reopen their Black Workers and Wellness Center, a community-run space in Anacostia used to organize for racial and economic justice. Their Juneteenth celebration will feature tours of the building, live music by local artists, food vendors, mutual aid and community outreach booths and more. You can visit the Black Workers and Wellness Center between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. RSVP here.

  • What Is Black Art Exhibition at The Eaton DC (1201 K Street NW). from June 25 to July 9. BlkArthouse is hosting artworks by 19 Black artists from around the world at the Eaton Hotel. You can join the opening reception Friday, June 25, at 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25. You can visit "What is Black Art?" by walking in until June 27 or by appointment from June 28 to July 9.


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