At its core, Juneteenth is about a celebration of freedom and community. The holiday commemorates June 19, 1865, the day on which the abolition of slavery was announced in the state of Texas, representing the true end of slavery in the United States more than 2 1/2 years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
In the United States, the celebration of freedom and independence is most often associated with the 4th of July. There is no doubt that July 4, 1776, was significant in the history of our nation, but it is not a day upon which all Americans can reflect as a representation of freedom. Juneteenth is a such a day. A day that all Americans can and should collectively celebrate in recognition of the moment all people in the United States were granted freedom.
For Will Mentorship Foundation, recognizing and celebrating Juneteenth is an intentional act of community-building focused on Radical [Re]Construction. Radical meaning “of or restoring to the root” and [Re]Construction meaning the rebuilding and healing of our community.
In 1865, after the original Juneteenth, the Reconstruction Era began. Reconstruction was a time during which African Americans had to learn how to navigate the world as free people. But how does one build their life in a world designed to exclude you?
More than 150 years later, this question continues to be relevant for African Americans via systematic and systemic disinvestment, discrimination, hate crimes, and oppression. Given our current cultural, social, and political climate, we find ourselves amidst a new reconstruction era. A Radical [Re]Construction era during which it is more important than ever to remember and honor the significance of Juneteenth to allow us to cultivate healing within and across communities and forge a new way forward.
Through the intentional integration of food, art, music, building, play, and making place, Juneteenth at the Urban Community Farm is curated to be an intergenerational event, providing families and community members of all ages with a space to re-envision both personhood and place, and travel from fragmentation to possibility and wholeness within self and community.