Juneteenth is being celebrated and recognized throughout the country. But what is Juneteenth really?
The date, June 19, 1865, refers to the day when enslaved African Americans learned of their emancipation in the state of Texas.
The term Juneteenth is a blend of the words June and nineteenth.
Public awareness of Juneteenth grew in 2020 around the nationwide protests after the police killings of several Black Americans, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
President Joe Biden signed the legislation that made Juneteenth a federal holiday in June 2021.
Juneteenth is the first federal holiday established since Martin Luther King, Jr.
North Dakota is now celebrating the holiday this year for the first time. This weekend, Minot kicked off its celebration.
KX News Jordan Rodriguez spoke with a member of the community who stressed the importance of all races coming together and celebrating Juneteenth.
“To me, this is an everyday thing to me, I appreciate the day, I’m going to enjoy the day, we are going to embrace each other,” said Gerald Osby.
Outside of Minot, Bismarck kicked off the community celebration by hosting a poetry and open mic event. The holiday is also symbolized by a flag of three colors: red, black and green.
Red represents the stand for struggle and sacrifice. Black represents Black people. Green stands for the natural wealth of the continent of Africa.
Although Juneteenth is only one day on our calendars, the community wants everyone to carry its impact all year long.
“But let’s not make this the only day that we come together as people and support each other. This should happen every weekend, this should happen every day,” Osby said.
Back in 2021, when Gov. Doug Burgum signed legislation in April designating June 19 as Juneteenth in North Dakota, he released a statement saying, “We encourage North Dakotans to observe this commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States and celebrate the ideals of liberty, justice, and equality for all citizens.”