SU Staff and Students Kick Off Juneteenth Celebrations SU Staff and Students Kick Off Juneteenth Celebrations

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) —Behind the doors of 119 Euclid on the campus of Syracuse University, a building that has been a space for students of color to learn, relax, and gather since 2021, faculty and students kick off the celebration of Juneteenth.

“What Juneteenth means to me is liberation and being free,” said a member at 119. “Today someone asked me what it is and I think in America we should all know by now.”

On June 19, 1865, a quarter of a million enslaved Black people in the state of Texas were declared free by executive decree. That day became known as Juneteenth and is now an annual celebration to commemorate the ending of slavery in the United States. 

“Celebrating Juneteenth means unliberated joy,” said one of the guests at the celebration. “It means being able to experience happiness in a really deep way, in a way that those before me even down to my mother, her sisters, my father, my grandparents didn’t.”

As the room filled with multitudes of people from all different walks of life, joining to celebrate the jubilation of freedom, you could see the green, black, and red of the Pan-African flag fill the room in the hands of those that came. 

“Celebrating Juneteenth for me is accepting my Blackness,” said another guest at the celebration. “Being proud of who I am and where I come from and the people surrounding me. Growing up I wasn’t really proud of being Black because being Black wasn’t beautiful, but as I got into adulthood I realized being Black is beautiful.”

Though Juneteenth has been celebrated in the African American community for years, in June 2021 Juneteenth became the eleventh American federal holiday and the first to obtain legal observance as a federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was designated in 1983.

The celebration of Juneteenth in Syracuse is highlighted by the annual food, music and entertainment festival in Clinton Square on Friday, June 14 and Saturday, June 15. There are several other events before and after the weekend.

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