We are all familiar with the Independence Day holiday celebrated on July 4th, but some of you may not be familiar with our country’s second independence day – Juneteenth.

What Is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom or Black Emancipation day, is an American holiday celebrated annually on June 19. It commemorates June 19, 1865, the day when Union general Gordon Granger read federal orders in Galveston, Texas that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free. President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation that formally freed slaves in 1863; however, Texas was the most remote of the slave states, so enforcement of the proclamation took two and a half years to reach Texas. Learn more about Juneteenth and the history of slavery by visiting the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture.

How Is It Acknowledged?

Reflecting on the significance of the day is vital to continue fighting for freedom and equality in the United States. Today, 47 states and Washington D.C. recognize this day as a state holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. Communities across the country celebrate Juneteenth with festivals, parades, music, and family gatherings. While Juneteenth is currently not a paid company holiday, Swinerton wants to bring more awareness to this holiday and is encouraging employees to participate in Juneteenth events and support Black-owned businesses.

How Can I Participate?

Check out these local events in your area: