• Project Angel Island

Monumental Updates of Juneteenth

Juneteenth has been a keystone in representing the freedom and emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. Although an unofficial holiday, Juneteenth marks our country's second independence day. Exactly a year ago, Project Angel Island had posted our first infographic on Instagram informing the public on the holiday. As of 2021, there have been a plethora of updates surrounding the topic of this holiday.

Many African Americans continue to believe that Juneteenth should be commemorated as an official national holiday. For example, states such as Utah have pushed for public colleges and universities to celebrate the holiday. A resolution to support Juneteenth passed on May 21, 2021 and stated that “Juneteenth is an opportunity for the board to reflect on the previous year’s efforts and renew the system and institutional commitment to closing opportunity and attainment gaps for African American, African and Black students, staff, and faculty persisting within Utah higher education.” Secondly, in large cities such as New York City, Governor Cuomo has declared the date as an official state holiday beginning in the 2022 school year. It will be observed on June 20th, 2022.

However, certain continuities within the United States remain as Hawaii, North Dakota and South Dakota are the only states that do not recognize Juneteenth entirely.

Many states have begun their celebrations for the holiday as well. Cities such as Flint, Michigan and Denver, Colorado have implemented various mediums such as art, music, and food into their celebrations. For instance in Flint, Michigan, parades, gospel festivals, and fairs will be in session for three days that will showcase pride and support for the African American community. April Cook Hawkins, one of the main coordinators for the festival, stated “We will honor our ancestors, highlight our heritage, celebrate our community all weekend and rejoice in our solidarity. We are working together to make sure that this year’s celebration of Juneteenth is bigger and better than ever before in the City of Flint.”

It is imperative to stand in support and amplify voices for the African-American community. In light of recent events and more, commemorating Juneteenth and making large strides on a government level is definitely a foot forward in the right direction.

By Jennifer Baek


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