Juneteenth: What Does it Mean? – Students Success @ AU

Juneteenth: What Does it Mean?

By: Kimberly A. Sanchez – Student Support Specialist – Title V Department
Highlight written by: Natasha Janac – AU Student

With all that is happening in the world right now, it is imperative that we spread love to those around us and help raise awareness. At Albizu, we love to highlight and embrace our culturally diverse student population. It is important for us to take the time out of our busy lives to observe and honor all the profound cultures we are surrounded by, and all the great things they have brought and still bring to the table. This month we would like to observe Juneteenth, and we want to thank Natasha Janac who reached out to tell us about this wonderful commemoration celebrated every year. Here we present (with permission) Natasha’s words on what Juneteenth represents and how important of a day it is.

Natasha Janac

For African descendants or those coded “black,” living in the United States, the context of “freedom” has carried a different meaning and reality. After Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation, freedom for European descendants meant continued indulgence in boundless privileges endowed by forced labor. In contrast, for African descendants, it meant breaking the hold of physical and mental constraints to dehumanizing conditions. We do not have to go far in time or wide in space to see that this is the same reality we face today. Despite all these challenges, our ancestors brilliantly maximized the victories of the “civil war” of 1865 to reclaim their birthright as humans, despite the consequences. This strategy and declaration is known today as the “freedom” declaration of June 19, 1865, aka Juneteenth. On this date, we commemorate the sacrifices of our ancestors and honor their contributions to the society we know today. We show respect for the pain they endured so that posterity would have the opportunity to live as Spirited humans. Juneteenth represents people creating their own destiny. Juneteenth symbolized families coming together to achieve a unified objective. Juneteenth is our story to tell and the history of all living on these lands, whether they choose to remember it or not.–  

Below please find more information about Juneteenth, along with virtuals events you can attend.

About the Author

Kimberly Sanchez is the Student Support Specialist for the Title V department at Albizu University.

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