Juneteenth 2023: Lessons and Hope for A Brighter Future

Jun 15, 2023

As we approach June 19th, or Juneteenth, as it is commonly known, we wanted to take some time to reflect on its significance, its impact on our society, and what it means to all of us here at Community Law Office, PLLC.

In 2021, President Joe Biden signed an act into law making Juneteenth the eleventh federal holiday. This event marked a significant shift in our nation's consciousness towards understanding and acknowledging our past. Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, a monumental event in our nation's history. This newly recognized federal holiday gives us all a moment to pause, reflect, and honor those who suffered through one of the darkest periods of American history.

However, Juneteenth is more than just a memorial; it is a celebration of freedom, resilience, and the promise of progress. On this day, in 1865, the last group of enslaved African Americans in Texas were informed of their liberation – two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation. The sheer joy and relief that swept through the newly freed individuals on this day is what we pay tribute to each year on Juneteenth.

Today, Juneteenth is not only celebrated within the African American community but across different races, ethnicities, and backgrounds in the United States. It encourages us to take a step back from our busy lives and educate ourselves about the painful yet essential aspects of our shared history. It serves as a reminder of the long and arduous road our predecessors walked for us to be where we are today – and the tremendous amount of work that we have left in front of us. As inheritors of this troubled history, it is our obligation to continue advocating for the advancement of all peoples and leave a more just and equitable world in our wake.

In honor of Juneteenth, our offices will be closed on Monday, June 19, 2023 as we stand in solidarity with our community in observing this important day. We see this as an opportunity for our team members to educate themselves, reflect on the historical significance of the day, and engage in meaningful conversations about race, freedom, and equality. As a civil rights and discrimination law firm, we at Community Law Office, PLLC feel a deep connection to this holiday. We are a team dedicated to upholding and protecting the rights of individuals and advocating for fairness and justice.

We encourage you to join in the various local events happening in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to commemorate Juneteenth. The African American Museum holds a multi-day Juneteenth Celebration culminating in a Juneteenth Festival on June 17 at Newbo City Market. More information is available here. The Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance is also holding events; information can be found here. These events not only offer an avenue to learn more about this historical day but also a chance to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our community in a unified commitment to equality, justice, and progress.

Juneteenth reminds us of the strength, resilience, and spirit of those who came before us. It serves as a beacon of hope for a better future, one that we can all contribute to building, by continuing the fight for equality and justice.

Thank you for joining us in observing Juneteenth, and for your continued support as we strive to create a more just and inclusive community.