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Happy Juneteenth! What is it?

Juneteenth! What a day! Some don't know what it is and some of us are still learning about it. Here in Charlotte we are celebrating with festivals and street parties and all. Sadly, there are only 18 states that recognize it as a national holiday. 18 states only?!?! In my heart I am saying," Here we go again?", but I am so very grateful for the 18 and I believe that it will change and that all 50 of the US states will recognize this important day and holiday. We have come a long way, but we still have miles to go.

Juneteenth is the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Juneteenth marks the anniversary of the announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army general Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865, proclaiming freedom for enslaved people in Texas. These slaves would not get the message that they where free until 2 and a half years later. The masters knew that they where free. They wanted to keep these people working on their plantations and of course didn't want slavery to be over.

What do we do on Juneteenth? Well, we celebrate our freedom from slavery. We celebrate our culture as African Americans with family, friends and community. Music and dance and of course, food!!! Oh yes! This is the day we will Eat all things red. Strawberry and watermelon drinks, red beans and rice, BBQ ribs and red velvet cake!

If you are Gullah Geechee like Moi, we will have Red Rice, Crab or Low country boil, BBQ Ribs and Chicken and other deliciousness.

It is a day to celebrate the resilience and strength of our people. It is a day to remember the price that was paid by the ancestors that came before who only dreamt of this day. I thank God for life! I thank Him for giving us strong, brave, smart, and creative ancestors and I long to honor God and them for all they have given us. Happy Juneteenth Everyone!


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