Juneteenth Celebrated at State and Town LevelJun 30, 2020 12:45PM ● By J.D. O’Gara
A hundred and fifty-five years to the day that the last slaves in the United States truly became free, the Massachusetts State Senate passed a resolution commemorating June 19th, 2020 as “Juneteenth.” The day has been celebrated by black American communities for a century and a Juneteenth is an unofficial holiday that celebrates June 19, 1865, the day that Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, arrived in Galveston, Texas and alerted the remaining enslaved African Americans in the United States of America that they were free. That decree arrived over two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Six months later, Congress would ratify the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, formally abolishing slavery.
“On Friday, June 19, 2020, the Massachusetts State Senate will commemorate 155 years since the end of the Civil War and enslaved people were told of their rights to freedom under the Emancipation Proclamation,” stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). Juneteenth is a time to celebrate and reflect on the arc of history, and the hard work that remains to achieve true justice for Black Americans. I encourage everyone to join me in recognizing this historic day. The Senate is committed to honoring that history by taking action to advance the cause of racial justice in the Commonwealth.”
The town of Holliston also held a celebration of the day, solemnly recognizing the day with a march, organized by Diverse Holliston, from Goodwill Park, to Holliston Police Station and back. Participants in the peaceful demonstration, part of a series of such demonstrations nationwide in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by police, held signs acknowledging the names of black men and women killed by police.
Following the march, about 80 community members assembled at Goodwill Park to share history, poetry and song inspirations aimed at celebrating Juneteenth and affirming the ongoing aim for social justice for black Americans. The event was emceed by Francesca Douyon, President of Diverse Holliston. Tina Hein, member of the Holliston Select Board, joined a number of community members in speaking out against racism.