Juneteenth Acknowledgment

 

Two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln declared enslaved Africans free with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, 250,000 enslaved Texans heard of their freedom for the first time. Texas was the last state to receive word that slaves had been "freed." This marked the start of a new era in American history. June 19th, or Juneteenth, has been declared a holiday in 47 states. Michigan officially recognized the holiday in 2005. It was a celebration of freedom from bondage for the African American community. Though African Americans still celebrate today, it is with the harsh realization that the Black community still experiences distinct forms of bondage. 
 
The Grand Rapids Public Schools acknowledges the significance of this holiday in the African American community. Greater still, we acknowledge the need for all staff and stakeholders to know, to understand, and to contextualize this history if we expect to disrupt the marginalization and the mistreatment that Black citizens are still experiencing today.
 
We encourage you to spend some time gaining a better understanding of Juneteenth: