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Debate Emerges: Who Is Juneteenth For?

This Sunday, June 19 is Juneteenth. This year marks the second year that Juneteenth will be celebrated as a federal holiday. Juneteenth originated in the 1865 announcement by the Union Army to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, that they had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation that was signed a year and a half earlier. After years of efforts by activists like Opal Lee to achieve federal recognition, Congress surprisingly approved the measure last year, which President Joe Biden signed just before Juneteenth. This year, amid continuing excitement from Black people and thoughtless decisions by corporations looking to cash in on the newly-recognized holiday, many are questioning what Juneteenth means now and who should be recognized by the holiday.

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