By Martina Conley, Community Life Coordinator, Search Inc
Juneteenth, aka Freedom Day, is a federal holiday commemorating the freedom of enslaved African Americans. The holiday was signed into federal law by President Joe Biden on June 17, 2021. Juneteenth is celebrated across the country with classes, picnics, parades, and vendor shows highlighting Black freedom, culture, and history.
This year Search celebrated Juneteenth with a virtual lunch and learn with program participants by exploring the proud history of Juneteenth. We learned that although the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1st, 1863, enslaved people in Fort Worth, Texas did not receive the news until June 19, 1865.
Everyone was inspired by Opal Lee, a social activist, author, and the “Grandmother of Juneteenth.” We learned that in 2016, at the age of 89, Ms. Lee began her walk from Fort Worth, Texas to Washington, D.C. to gain support from Congress to make Juneteenth a national holiday. She walked 2.5 miles every day for the two and a half years it took for enslaved people in Texas to receive news of their freedom.
Our celebration, which was inspiring, educational, and fun, ended with a cultural group dance.
Martina Conley has been with Search Inc for 5 years. She works as a Director Support Professional and Community Life Coordinator. She enjoys serving others, teaching, and writing.