Emancipation 1862 (1)

Juneteenth and the Establishment of a Long Overdue National Holiday

As remarkable as the American experiment has been over the last 245 years, as much as the United States has often led the way in establishing a new form of liberty among nations, and as much as the U.S. remains a beacon of hope for people around the world, our nation carries with it a number of original sins.

“Great nations don’t ignore their most painful moments. They embrace them,” said President Biden yesterday from the White House during the signing ceremony for the new law that recognizes Juneteenth as a national holiday.

Marking the emancipation of enslaved Blacks at the end of the Civil War in 1865, the establishment of Juneteenth as the nation’s newest official day of remembrance has prompted needed discussions and reevaluation of the American experience, and lifted spirits in an uncertain time in a nation where hope is sorely needed.

Considered the longest-running Black holiday, Juneteenth has been called America’s second Independence Day, and has typically been celebrated on the third Saturday in June. It is fitting, then, that on this first national observance of Juneteenth the 19th of June falls on this third Saturday. I commend the President and Congress in establishing this official holiday.

One way to celebrate and reflect on Juneteenth is by sharing it with your friends, family, and neighbors. The San Diego Diplomacy Council has shared this list of local Juneteenth actions and events happening throughout the day tomorrow.