Home Editorials Reflections on Juneteenth 2023

Reflections on Juneteenth 2023

by William T. Robinson, Jr
William T. Robinson, Jr.

This year’s Juneteenth celebration participation was exponentially greater than anyone might have possibly imagined. So many African Americans and their supporters became knowledgeable and participated after realizing its significance.  Juneteenth is without a doubt ‘on the map’ and is assured to grow even bigger.

While Juneteenth may have been celebrated in all major cities and communities, it was not fully known by many Americans until major emphasis was put on it through social media, bringing about national awareness—as well as Joe Biden declaring it a national holiday in 2021. In the past, Juneteenth has been basically trivialized or even left out of our history books altogether—disregarding any commemoration or recognition of the enslaved finally being told they’d been freed with the last holdout in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865.

This holiday has galvanized the Black community and other Americans by celebrating our commonality as Americans, regardless of those working so defiantly trying to divide us. It is a jubilant celebration of inclusion, offering our country and the world exposure to the resilience, culture, greatness, and beauty of African Americans who cannot be denied their role in making this country the great country that it claims to be.

Juneteenth is a celebration and tribute to our enslaved ancestors who kept hope alive, never giving up on their cries and prayers for deliverance by our benevolent God whose will is infinite. It is probably the most important holiday in which African Americans feel totally accepted and free to manifest the love and admiration they feel for each other—defying the myths and stereotypes manufactured by those who still seek to oppress us by trying to make African Americans feel inferior.   

The numerous celebrations manifested throughout Juneteenth help consolidate the acceptance of African Americans as a viable, important part of this country. Juneteenth offers a colorful and vibrant array of traditions and exposure to our culture through song, dance, food and oratory skills honoring our ancestors. Other races helping to celebrate Juneteenth were not disappointed. They gained a deeper appreciation and respect for the wealth of talent African Americans bring to the table.

Juneteenth celebrations inundated TV screens, mass and social media, exposing the country and the world to African Americans taking pride in their heritage and relevance as proud Americans. Music, dance, parades and food festivals were numerous—as well as respectful, spiritual homage paid to our enslaved African American ancestors.  

I can only envision Juneteenth growing bigger and bigger with the oncoming years, with all American looking forward to celebrating and acknowledging the holiday. As an African American, it was bonding and informative for me displaying the beauty of people who look like me. How can you experience Juneteenth and not be appreciative of African Americans being freed, realizing their role in making this a better country?

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