Though it has only been a federal holiday since 2021, Juneteenth is the oldest African American holiday. Juneteenth or June 19th commemorates the day the last group of slaves in Texas were informed they had been emancipated at least two years prior. The descendants of these enslaved Texans observed Juneteenth as a reminder to the struggles of their ancestors. However, as these descendants migrated, this holiday spread and quickly became a way for Black Americans to connect their history to the story of America. Now, after almost 200 years, many believe Juneteenth to be America’s second Independence Day.
Just as Americans celebrate the Fourth of July, African Americans host an array of events centered around the love and pride they have for their history. From barbecues and food festivals to family reunions and church services, African Americans celebrate Juneteenth to honor the fight of those who came before them while paving the way for generations to come.
This Juneteenth holiday, we pray for freedom for the oppressed, unity within our communities, and wisdom to teach children that African American history neither begins nor ends with enslavement. I encourage all of COCHUSA to reflect on our struggles and to remember that although our path to equality is filled with trials and tribulations, it is also lined with victories and new beginnings.
Continue to pray for your neighbors and enemies, while supporting your local black businesses.
On behalf of Senior Bishop Vernon E. Kennebrew and the COCHUSA Board of Bishops, we pray for the continued liberties of our brothers and sisters across the United States.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand Firm, then and do not let yourself be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 (NIV)
Bishop Lindsay E. Jones