By Madison Otten
June 19 was a historic day for the Westminster Campus as we celebrated our first Juneteenth. You may be asking yourself, what exactly is Juneteenth? Juneteenth is also known as Freedom Day to some, and it has deep ties in our country’s history, even though it’s not exactly a well-known holiday. It’s somewhat new to the state of Colorado, only picking up attention in the 1980s and has grown since then.
The true beginnings of Juneteenth stem back to the ending of the Civil War in which news travelled slowly to the South that the Confederates had lost. It would take a full two years after the ending of the war for the army to take over and emancipate the slaves in the Southern region. During this time, some battles were still being fought for the Civil War, even though said war was long over. On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and officially enforced the new freedom of slaves.
Sadly, the celebration would soon be smothered by years of bigotry, racism, segregation, Jim Crow Laws and a general lack of human decency would descend upon the United States and drag us into an era of darkness that shouldn’t ever be forgotten. But the black communities prevailed on and celebrated it in spite of the hatred and aura of miasma around them. They were barred from celebrating in most public areas, so they bought a several acre park that is now known as Emancipation Park in Texas.
FRCC student Phoebe Zavala helped set up the Rotunda for the celebration.
“It is extremely important to include celebrations from all different backgrounds makes us stronger as whole and as a student community,” said Zavala.
The event included an informative slideshow on the history and importance of Juneteenth, and in proper party manner, food attributed to Juneteenth including BBQ chicken, fried chicken, dirty rice, salad, cookies and punch. Anyone and everyone was welcome to join and learn about this little-known holiday.
Todd Johnson, a guest at the event, shared his opinion on the school-produced events celebrating our differences.
“Yes, I believe our college supports huge communities and provides us with events that bring us all together,” said Johnson.
As the year goes on we shall be seeing more and more events geared towards bringing the community together and providing a fun and relaxing environment for the students as they pursue their own hopes and dreams.