Juneteenth commemorates the events of June 19, 1865.

This is when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to inform enslaved African Americans that the Civil War had ended, and they were free.

Granger’s news came two months after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Long celebrated in African American communities — particularly in the South — Juneteenth did not become a federal holiday until 2021, following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and other Black Americans as well as nationwide protests against police brutality.

Please understand that to me “Black Lives Matter” is more than a march, a trend or a saying on a t-shirt.  “Black Freedom Matters,” and standing up against “Black on Black Crime matters.”

Juneteenth is an opportunity for all freedom-loving people to commemorate this historical day, to remember its heroes and “sheroes,” and to honor their gains, to mourn their losses, and to learn from both.

It is proper that we take a day out of each year to honor our greatest social movement. It is proper that we remember the business that remains unfinished from that movement, to contemplate emancipation as a process and not an event.

So, as a community, let’s learn to love each other more, protect each other, honor our forefathers and mothers for the ultimate sacrifice. So yes, Black Lives Matter and freedom matters as well!

The African flag’s colors each have symbolic meaning. Red stands for blood — both the blood shed by Africans who died in their fight for liberation and the shared blood of the African people. Black represents, well, Black people, and Green is a symbol of growth and the natural fertility of Africa.

Let us remember the blood that was shed for Black freedom, the strong and courageous Black men and women who were enslaved, beaten, sold and died for equal rights and liberation.

Below are my five favorite quotes by Nelson Mandela that inspire and instill strength within ourselves and community.

Let’s change this world together remembering Juneteenth.

  • 5.

    “It is in your hands, to make a better world for all who live in it.”

  • 4.

    “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.”

  • 3.

    “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice.”

  • 2.

    “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others.” 

  • 1.

    “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

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