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Pasadena College Raises a Flag For Juneteenth

Published on Saturday, June 18, 2022 | 5:51 am

Students and faculty gathered at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena Friday to raise the Juneteenth flag beginning a week of celebration of and education about the historic holiday.

The official Juneteenth flag celebrates the commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States — specifically as embodied in 1865 in Galveston, Texas, where the news of freedom arrived more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

“Our goal is to bring awareness to the history of this day,  and to spread recognition that Juneteenth is now a Federal holiday,” said Dr. Sheree Bielecki, one of the faculty organizers of the events.

In June of 2021, President Joe Biden signed legislation which declared Juneteenth—a blend of “June” and “Nineteenth”— a Federal holiday.

“We’re really proud to live our core values, one of which is social justice,” said Michael Lopez-Patton, dean of students. “It is important to us to celebrate Juneteenth with members of the community.”

As the story of Juneteenth is told, although the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in the South in 1863, it could not be enforced in many places until after the end of the Civil War in 1865.

Union Major Gen. Gordon Granger and his troops arrived in Galveston on June 19, 1865, with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free, more than two months after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia.

Granger delivered General Order No. 3, which said: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”

Newly freed slaves throughout immediately fled their masters’ homes, as Beliecki told the gathering, although a small number chose to stay in their positions.

The next year, Juneteenth was officially celebrated in Galveston. Its observance has continued around the nation and the world since, with concerts, parades and readings of the Emancipation Proclamation.

The holiday spread across the nation and internationally as Black Texans moved elsewhere throughout the country.

Recognition of Juneteenth gained traction after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis 2020, and setting into motion a new racial reckoning in America. At least 24 states and the District of Columbia will legally recognize Juneteenth as a public holiday this year, according to the Pew Research Center. 

For Juneteenth celebrations in Pasadena, click here.

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