INDIANAPOLIS — For the first time in Indiana’s history, Juneteenth will be a holiday for Hoosiers. Governor Eric Holcomb signed it into Executive Order Friday.
Juneteenth is a celebration of June 19, 1865. It commemorates the day soldiers reached Texas to tell slaves that the Civil War had ended, and that all slaves were emancipated. This came two years after Abraham Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation.
“We celebrate things like 4th of July, which is what people did to protest and get away from Britain, which is what we are doing, but we are looked at negatively,” says Jomar Seals a history major in college commemorating Juneteenth at a celebration at Holiday Park, “We never heard about Juneteenth in school. It was only when I got out of high school, and onto college.”
Despite the significance of the day, it is not a national holiday.
“They always say history is told by the winners, and for this type of holiday, one we have to think is about black liberation, yet we are still fighting at the same time. That’s going on right now,” explains Ky Freeman, organizer of the Holiday Park Juneteenth Celebration, “History keeps repeating itself, like right now we are in 2020, but now looks like the Civil Rights Movements that are going on again.”
Freeman is glad to see the state acknowledge the day’s significance, but calls it a micro reform or appeasement. He believes more can be done to halt system racism.