Juneteenth Celebrations

Dan Demshar

Beloved Region, 

Juneteenth National Independence Day is a US federal holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved black Americans and celebrating African-American culture. Originating in Galveston, Texas, Juneteenth commemorates the June 19, 1865 announcement by the Union Army proclaiming freedom for enslaved people in Texas following the end of the American Civil War even though the Emancipation Proclamation was signed January 1, 1863.

Celebrations date to 1866, at first involving church-centered community gatherings in Texas, and spread across the South. Celebratory traditions often include public readings of the Emancipation Proclamation and works by noted African-American writers, and singing traditional songs such as "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "Lift Every Voice and Sing.” 

Juneteenth reminds us of our spiritual celebration of the liberation we have in Jesus Christ, who has freed us from bondage to sin and given us new life: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)

Many communities in Boston and the surrounding area are hosting Juneteenth Celebrations. These are great opportunities to celebrate with our neighbors and make new friends. These are also great opportunities to teach our children:

Also, our sister church in Los Angeles is hosting a virtual Juneteenth celebration on June 18 from 1-2:30 pm EDT including spiritual, historical, musical and spoken word presentations. Register at: bit.ly/mlascuadjuneteenth