AM Observes Juneteenth

This is the second year Associated Ministries is observing Juneteenth by offering a paid holiday to all of our staff members, which means the AM office will be closed on Friday, June 18.

For those who are unfamiliar, Juneteenth recognizes a pivotal turning point in American history. As the most popular celebration of Black emancipation in the United States after the Civil War, it commemorates June 19, 1865, the day Union General Gordon Granger, accompanied by approximately 1,800 federal troops, arrived in Galveston, Texas, formerly part of the Confederate States of America, to take over the state and enforce Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation from 1863. Today, 47 states acknowledge Juneteenth as a state holiday or special day of observance.

Observing Juneteenth is meaningful because when the 13 original U.S. colonies declared their independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776, Black Americans remained in chains. Their enslavement continued even after the colonies won their freedom in the American Revolutionary War in 1783. They remained slaves for another 82 years. So while most Americans are marking the birthday of the United States on July 4 with burgers, hot dogs, and fireworks, many black Americans will already have celebrated their independence the previous month, on Juneteenth.

Also known as Freedom Day and Emancipation Day, Juneteenth may not be the national holiday Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is, but it’s just as important, maybe even more so. Says Reverend Ronald V. Meyers, chairman of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, “[It’s] a time of celebration but also a time of reflection, healing, and hopefully, a time for the country to come together and deal with its slave legacy.”

We encourage you to join us this weekend in a time of reflection on the value of freedom, and to commit to continue working to achieve justice for all.

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