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Juneteenth: A Day of Remembrance and Commemoration

Honoring Juneteenth reminds us that we must preserve and learn from the stories of those who lived through slavery and its aftermath here in North America. This remembrance’s purpose is for all God’s children living today, and, in the future, to know the stories of those who came before them.

Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image. May we accept the call to be bearers of peace. Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and oppression. Help us, like those of generations before us, resist the evil of slavery and human bondage in any form and any manner of oppression. Help us to use our freedoms to bring justice among people and nations everywhere, to the glory of your Holy name through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally-celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. June 19, 1865, marks the date when Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Grander, reached Galveston, Texas, with the announcement of the Civil War’s end, the abolition of slavery in Texas, and the emancipation of enslaved African Americans throughout the Confederate South. This news reached the enslaved two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and over two months after the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at the Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution making slavery illegal in the United States would not be ratified until December 1865. Juneteenth, also referred to as Freedom Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day, has long been celebrated as a day of freedom in the African American community and marks our country’s second independence day. In 2021, Juneteenth was commemorated as a federal holiday for the first time.


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