“That the US doesn’t have an Emancipation Day to mark our abolishing an institution antithetical to our founding ideals of freedom & liberty speaks to the ongoing cover-up and our inability, still, to acknowledge what we did and who we are… Juneteenth should be a national holiday.”
– Hannah Jones
Today we celebrate, and invite you to join in celebrating Juneteenth. “Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day that Union Army General Gordon Granger entered the city of Galveston, Texas and informed the last slave holding state that indeed all of the enslaved peoples were freed. This was 2+ years after the Emancipation Proclamation. 1865 was also the year that the Thirteenth amendment to the US constitution was passed. Juneteenth is also a reminder of the lasting social, political and economic impacts of slavery.” -Paula Champagne
As Quakers with a history of supporting the abolition of slavery, we ask that Friends continue to fight against the legacy of slavery that is seen most visibly through police brutality and mass incarceration. As many have pointed out, the 13th amendment states “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude except as a punishment for crime…” that slavery has not officially ended in the US. Follow some of the links and resources below to celebrate and honor this important day in our shared history, and to continue working towards true Freedom and Liberation of all peoples.
QVS is in conversation with the board currently about making Juneteenth a national staff and Fellow holiday moving forward, we’ll be sure to update you!


Some ways you can celebrate and engage today:




Juneteenth Explained- VICE

This Is Why Juneteenth Is Important for America- The Root

Why all Americans should honor Juneteenth- VOX


Follow the lead of Black creators:

Another way to celebrate and continue this work is to continue working towards racial justice. For folks who might be asking ” what is my right next step?” we have a list of resources and starting points that we hope you can engage with on our blog here: https://www.quakervoluntaryservice.org/what-is-your-right-next-step/

Headlined poem and art by Tasha J Fierce

We are deliberate and unafraid.

The bells are ringing around the world
in cities I will never visit
Our names are printed over doorways
Breonna, George, Ahmaud, Nina
Those who will never see this world upended
for their want of breath
the fruits of labor extracted from our bones
or again have their bodies made tender
by this indifferent place
On this morning we cannot forget
the sun on their faces
our commitment to freedom
cutting through messages of despair
full moon nights when we read our palms
and cried tears not from sadness
but from our grit through endless wind

Acid rain to tear gas on Black skin
I pluck at the chicken heart of an eagle
does this country love?
A thing so deftly malicious
so haunted by the ghosts of its dream
can only find profit in sorrow

We are summoning the spirits of ancestors
Audre, Lucille, Ntozake, Harriet
Fannie, Martin, Malcolm, Fred
We are linking arms
plunging headlong into the fray

We are deliberate
and unafraid.

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