Watch to learn why Juneteenth is celebrated by Black communities, and why we still have work to do today.
(text on top left: “in honor of Juneteenth”)
Monique: All our offices will close in honor of Juneteenth. Juneteenth is an important historical milestone where Black Americans celebrate freedom. Up until June 19, 1865, Black people were seized by those in control, forced into slavery, forced to work. Our ancestors are not called ‘slaves’, they were ‘enslaved’. Enslaved means that those in control forced us to work, took away our choices, took away our right to vote, our goals and ambitions in life. The enslavers in control oppressed Black people for many years.
Maisha: (timeline with “Sept 1862” and picture of Abraham Lincoln, zoom out to show Emancipation Proclamation document)
The news about Emancipation Proclamation spread slowly. In southern states, enslavers who owned Black people already knew the news. They didn’t want to free the enslaved. They hit the news and forced Black people to work. Any Black people who found out and decided to liberate themselves would be punished or killed.
(Map of U.S. with Union states in blue, Confederate states in red)
For two years enslavers sought to make sure enslaved Black people did not know they should be free. Eventually, the Civil War finally ended, and shortly after Lincoln was assassinated. Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger helped spread the news of freedom to southern cities and states. He shared the Emancipation Proclamation that people could not own others as property. News of freedom spread from city to city, state to state, for two years, then finally arriving to the last state, Texas.
Ollie: (Timeline changes to June 19, 1865. Painting of General announcing the news to a crowd of now-free Black people)
June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas, that General finally officially confirmed that it was illegal to claim people as property. This was huge news for the over 250,000 now-liberated Black people in Texas. Black Texans were the first to celebrate Juneteenth, and over the years it quickly spread to other states as a day of celebrating freedom for Black people. There are many ways the Black community celebrates Juneteenth, like storytelling, barbecues, and parades.
Deb: (Timeline changes to 1870s, image of sign “We want white tenants in our white community)
Juneteenth Celebration continued annually until the late 1870s. Jim Crow laws passed. Now the law said: Black and white people have to be segregated,
(Image of white man and white mob attacking Black man with U.S. flag)
Black people have lost their voting rights, and targeted violence towards Black Americans.
(Timeline changes to 1960’s with image of Civil Rights March with Washington Monument in background)
Almost 100 years later, during the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement, people brought back Juneteenth to celebrate and as a motivator to continue fighting for civil rights.
(Timeline changes to “Now”, image of recent BLM protests)
Today and over the last several years, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement remind us again what we still have to learn from Juneteenth. BLM is a human rights organization with a focus on issues related to racial injustice, criminal justice reform, police brutality, and human rights for all people.
Maisha: For Juneteenth this year, we ask you to join us and take the day to honor the historic pain caused, and all lives lost, to racial inequality. At the same time, take it as an opportunity to learn about our past, connect with each other, and reflect and discuss how we can take responsibility to end inequality. We are still fighting for more changes, not just for the police system, but also equality in education, economy, and health within our deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, deaf disabled, and late-deafened communities.
(Maisha fades out, graphic with green background and text appears: “In honor of Juneteenth all our offices are closed on Monday, June 20, 2022. GLAD, OCDEAF, CODIE, BGLAD, and TCGLAD websites and contact info on right side.)