Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger of the Union army declared a new beginning for enslaved people in the United States: he told them they were free. That order came to Texas more than two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. For that reason, Black people historically gathered together to celebrate their journey to freedom.
This year marks a new beginning for New Yorkers, as well. On June 17, Governor Cuomo signed an executive order recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday for New York State employees. Lurie Daniel-Favors, interim executive director of MEC’s Center for Law and Social Justice recently appeared on News 12. She discussed the significance of Juneteenth within the current political landscape, and said that while creating a state holiday is a step in the right direction, more work needs to be done. Watch the full story here.
MEC’s Professor of Public Administration Wallace Ford spoke with Fox 5’s Good Day New York. He explained the nuanced history of Juneteenth as the day when enslaved people in Texas finally learned that they had been freed. The vestiges of slavery are still present in every facet of our society today, and are especially visible in disparities in education, criminal justice, economic opportunity, and healthcare and medicine. Watch the full story here.