Juneteenth Freedom Day 2023
This story, originally authored by PEP CEO Habeebah R. Grimes, is an updated version of one published on June 17, 2022.
On June 17, 2020, President Biden proclaimed Juneteenth a federal holiday. Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed, a full two and a half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
The proclamation that named Juneteenth a national holiday shared these words: “I call upon the people of the United States to acknowledge and celebrate the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of Black Americans, and commit together to eradicate systemic racism that still undermines our founding ideals and collective prosperity.”
This holiday has long been celebrated by African Americans, and it is fitting that it now has the status of a federal holiday. Just as July 4th honors the day that the original thirteen colonies would be free and independent states, Juneteenth honors the day that all Americans could finally live as free people.
Striving for an Equitable Community at PEP
At PEP, our strategic framework has recommitted us to understanding our history and continuing to build on our trauma-informed core, established at our founding with the principles of Re-ED. Anti-racism is key to our trauma-informed philosophy. To be truly trauma-informed, to understand the young people and families with whom we work, and to help them heal and grow, we must be aware of and sensitive to the generational racism that has shaped their reality.
It is fitting then, too, that PEP honors Juneteenth by closing its programs and offices on the holiday.
At PEP, as we work in service to our vision of an equitable community where every young person is valued and experiences joy and deep fulfillment, we will continue to be intentional in finding ways to learn our stories and to celebrate freedom. Observing Juneteenth offers one of these moments.
Opportunities to Celebrate Juneteenth Freedom Day 2023
- The MetroHealth Cleveland Juneteenth Freedom Fest will happen downtown on Mall C on Friday, June 16 from 6 – 10 PM.
- One South Euclid Juneteenth Freedom Day Celebration, Sunday June 18, 1 – 5 PM.
Several local media outlets have curated lists of opportunities to celebrate Juneteenth Freedom Day 2023 in Northeast Ohio.