Taken from NJ.com
By Alice Bardeen, President, Local 5004
June 18, 2022
And, yet it’s a day that arrives with little recognition of what it is we’re commemorating. For me, it’s still a day of reflection and contemplation because I have not had time yet to build my family’s traditions around it.
Although celebrated sporadically in parts of the nation since 1865, you could say Juneteenth is our youngest national holiday. It was just last year on June 17, 2021, that Joseph R. Biden, the 46th president of the United States, signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law.
The “freedom” granted by Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, when he issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, was a stopgap, halting, begrudging, at times. For instance, it freed enslaved people only in Southern secessionist states of the Confederacy. Slavery continued a while longer in parts of the states not embroiled in the rebellion.
What does it mean to be emancipated, freed, so to speak, when you already, purportedly, live in a free country? What does it mean that even now, when some in our nation refuse to discuss the harrowing history we are all yoked to? When some people question every attempt to achieve equity in our society as some zero-sum game, will our children ever be free?
Read more here.