As more people learn about Juneteenth and the significance of the day for many Black Americans, the stories of family celebrations and community gatherings have come to be part of the larger narrative of our country. Freedom Day, as some call Juneteenth, is now a recognized national holiday celebrated annually on June 19. It is connected to the day in 1865 when a Union general announced to enslaved Black Texans in Galveston about the end of the Civil War and the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation two years prior. This transformative moment is meaningful more than one hundred years later as communities around the country come together to celebrate through music, food and parades.
As a native Texan who grew up celebrating Juneteenth, I reflect on what the day means to me and how we learn from this day through storytelling. When we share our histories and listen to one another, we can create a better future, together.