Serving Metropolitan Detroit Since 1944

House Members Observe Juneteenth Around Michigan

LANSING, Mich., June 18, 2024 - Across the state, members of the House Democratic Caucus are celebrating Juneteenth tomorrow.

"June 19 is a day across the nation and our great state that is set aside to honor the resilience, courage and strength of our ancestors on Juneteenth. We remember those who lost their lives while fighting racism to ensure every person enjoys the fullness of their rights and freedoms," said Speaker of the House Joe Tate (D-Detroit.)

On June 19, 1865, Union Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and proclaimed that all enslaved individuals were free. This momentous announcement came more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

"Every time I think about what our ancestors have endured, it makes me sorrowful for the sufferings of African Americans who were enslaved. Imagine receiving the news of being freed two years after the fact. We recognize Juneteenth for those who were freed years later and didn't know it, and for those who died never knowing freedom at all," said state Rep. Amos O'Neal (D-Saginaw), chair of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus.

Early celebrations of Juneteenth date back to 1866, initially involving church-centered community gatherings in Texas. These celebrations spread across the South among newly freed African American slaves and their descendants.

"Juneteenth is a moment of celebration and an opportunity for community-level learning about social justice and what African Americans have endured during slavery in the United States. This is a part of our history that some seek to silence. As ugly as it is for some to hear about it, just imagine living it. I'm proud to celebrate Juneteenth for the ancestors," said state Rep. Helena Scott (D-Detroit).

Juneteenth celebrations across the state bring communities together for parades, festivals and cultural events, fostering a sense of unity, pride and shared heritage. It's a time to connect with neighbors, friends and family.

"This day is about remembering and also looking toward the future. Juneteenth gives us all pause to think about how far we've come and how hard the fight is still for racial equity and justice on all fronts," said state Rep. Cynthia Neeley (D-Flint).

Many state and federal offices are closed in observance of Juneteenth.

 

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