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Celebrating Juneteenth amid BLM protests

Video Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on June 18, 2020 - Duration: 02:22s

Celebrating Juneteenth amid BLM protests

[NFA] Juneteenth, an annual U.S. holiday on June 19, has taken on greater significance this year following nationwide protests over racial injustice.

Matthew Larotonda has more.

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Celebrating Juneteenth amid BLM protests

When President Trump last week scheduled a campaign rally on June 19th, or Juneteenth, it drew immediate criticism.

It is a holiday for many, but in the era of global Black Lives Matter protests it has an even greater significance.

What does June 19th mean in 2020?

[Voxpops in Sacramento, California.] "I didn't even grasp what the concept was, I had no idea." "In all of my schooling here in California, I'd never heard of it." "It's the end of slavery and it might be when the last state heard about it." Juneteenth is also known as Emancipation Day.

It marks the moment in 1865, after the end of the American Civil War, when the last group of black slaves were finally freed.

President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier.

It took that much time for Union soldiers to bring the news to them in Texas.

In 1980, Texas officially declared it a holiday.

It is now recognized in 46 other states and the

Class="kln">District of Columbia, although it's not a federal holiday.

This is the 155th anniversary.

But, of course, it also coincides with global protests against racial injustice.

It's one of the reasons why Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma was criticized.

It wasn't just the timing, but the location itself: The 1921 Tulsa Massacre - of African Americans by a white mob - was one of the worst incidents of racial violence in U.S. history.

2020 is also different because this Juneteenth coincides with the coronavirus outbreak - which has disproportionately affected communities of color.

Many American cities have canceled annual parades due to the pandemic.

But it will still be marked in other ways.

Festive meals, gatherings, virtual conferences and smaller events are still expected to take place and we can expect it to be seen in protests that weekend.

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