This month YNPN Phoenix celebrates Juneteenth, a holiday which commemorates the freedom of Black Americans from slavery in the United States. It is wonderful to see that the holiday continues to gain more recognition, and it is my hope that in time, June 19th will be as ubiquitous as July 4th. 

As a Black woman, I am proud of my ancestors and the groundwork they have laid to ensure the success of their descendants. I am in awe of my ancestors’ resiliency, fortitude, and perseverance in a nation that continuously failed to recognize their humanity. I hope that I honor their memory with how I have lived and continue to live my life. 

I invite and encourage you to learn more about Juneteenth. I am learning more about the holiday myself, and look forward to celebrating this year! 

Black Americans have had a hand in shaping our country for the better and our history is American history that deserves recognition. Before emancipation, enslaved persons were perceived as subhuman. History has shown us, and still continues to show us, that anytime there is a failure to recognize the humanity or equality of a group of persons, it leads to and justifies their mistreatment.  

Emancipation was a major win for human rights in the United States, but the fight for equality still continues as evidenced by the continued need for the Black Lives Matter movement. Bearing this in mind, Black History cannot be reduced to the struggles of the past and present. That is one facet of the Black experience. Juneteeth provides all of us an opportunity to witness and celebrate Black joy, Black excellence, Black beauty and its role in the beautifully diverse tapestry which forms our nation.