Juneteenth belongs on the city’s calendar

Juneteenth might be a funny name, but what it represents, what it celebrates, is serious stuff.

On Thursday, the City of Minot announced it will host the community’s first-ever Juneteenth event in commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States.

The first time? Who knew. Just what is Juneteenth anyway?

We were told Juneteenth commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas, and the overall emancipation of slaves throughout the former Confederate States of America. In 1997, the U.S. Congress officially passed legislation recognizing Juneteenth as Juneteenth Independence Day in America.

It turns out, according to the city, that North Dakota is one of only four states that do not officially recognize Juneteenth as either a state holiday or a ceremonial day of observance.

Well, let’s correct that ASAP. What’s not to celebrate?

The other states should wake up and get to the party too: South Dakota, Hawaii and New Hampshire.

The focus of Juneteenth, over time, has shifted to include the freedom of all races of every generation – and as such is also known as Freedom Day.

Yes, we have lots of days when we are thankful for freedom; why not one more? Freedom is far, far from universal even today (think North Korea). One more reminder of how blessed we are seems appropriate as is remembering the cruel bondage that African-Americans endured not all that long ago. If nothing else, can’t we celebrate in ernest alongside their decendents living in the community?

The Minot Juneteenth Observance Committee, a group of local residents, will lead the celebration on June 19 in front of City Hall. It is scheduled to begin at noon.

We can’t wait to see how many people turn out. Hopefully, throngs of people. Hopefully more than enough to warrant a second annual Juneteenth celebration in Minot.

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