'Grandmother of Juneteenth' celebrates federal holiday -- but there is more work to do. Here's how you can help
June 17, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
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Before Juneteenth became an official federal holiday, 94-year-old Opal Lee was on a mission.
(CNN)Before Juneteenth became an official federal holiday, 94-year-old Opal Lee was on a mission.
"I'm not just going to sit and rock, you know?" the determined "Grandmother of Juneteenth" told CNN.
Lee was 89-years-old when she decided "something can be done" to make Juneteenth a formal and nationally recognized holiday.
As an educator for more than twenty-five years, she helped organize citywide Juneteenth festivals that she says boasted thousands in attendance.
On one occasion, Lee says the park hosting the event closed at 10 p. m. But instead of shutting down the festivities, she found a way to keep the lights on and the celebration going.
For Lee, Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom.
In honor of the day, the Texas native hosted annual 2. 5-mile walks to commemorate the seldom told history of some 250,000 enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, who did not learn of their freedom until two and half years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
As a former educator whose job involved social work, Lee now strives to ensure future generations know about Juneteenth.
In honor of Juneteenth, there a number of organizations you can work with to advance justice and continue the fight toward racial equity.
The National Museum of African American History & Culture is hosting an online celebration called, Juneteenth: A Celebration of Resistance.
For added education and awareness, the museum also put together an interactive timeline that walks online users through the history of Juneteenth and its significance today. StepAfrika is calling viewers to its virtual theater for a Juneteenth performance which will broadcast at 8 p. m. EST on the June 19 holiday.
In honor of Juneteenth, the company is encouraging people to spend 2. 5 hours in nature considering the question, "What does freedom mean to me in America?" Participants are also asked to reflect on the legacy of the 250,000 Black Americans in Galveston, Texas, who were denied their freedom for more than two years.