Understanding why Juneteenth is an important holiday

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INDIANAPOLIS — Today is Juneteenth: a holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States.

Many people in the African American community celebrate this every year, but for some this may be the first time you’ve heard about it.

“While most folks celebrate Independence Day, July 4th, we as Black Americans and African Americans celebrate Juneteenth,” Juneteenth Social founder TJ Wright said.

July 4th, 1776 was the day America declared their independence and as a country we were free but slaves were not.

It was June 19th, 1865 when all the slaves were informed they had been freed.

Gordon Granger, a soldier, came to Texas and he made that announcement in the confederate headquarters and told everyone slavery had been abolished, so it’s party time!” Indy Juneteenth Founder James Webb said.

Juneteenth has been celebrated in some African American communities for more than a century, but it’s still a holiday many aren’t familiar with.

“It wasn’t really as celebrated and well known. People knew the importance of being free and slavery but not sure about this particular day,” Wright explained.

Also, depending on where you live, it’s not something taught in grade school.

Indy Juneteenth founder Twjonia Webb didn’t learn about it until college.

“As we are more aware of who we are we can be better individuals. I think it’s important to know your history,” Twjonia Webb said.

This year, Indy Juneteenth is hosting all their celebrations virtually due to COVID-19.

Juneteenth Social founder TJ Wright said the current conversation across the country is highlighting the importance of this day

“We are at a time where we are seeing this resurgence happen because we as a community are really hungry for change, enrichment and empowerment,” Wright said.

“Juneteenth deserves that type of light and celebrating our culture is something we really don’t apologize for,” James Webb said.

To get involved with Indy Juneteenth and see how they’re celebrating, click here.

For more information about Juneteenth Social, click here.

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