Juneteenth: A day of joy and pain – and now national action

In just about any other year, Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the day in 1865 that all enslaved black people learned they had been freed from bondage, would be marked by African American families across the nation with a cookout, a parade, a community festival, a soulful rendition of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.” For many white Americans, recent protests over police brutality have driven their awareness of Juneteenth’s significance. “This is one of the first times since the ’60s, where the global demand, the inter-generational demand, the multiracial demand is for systemic change,” said Cornell University professor Noliwe Rooks, a segregation expert.