Independence on July 4th and why Juneteenth is so Important

We’re halfway through the year and we’re kicking off the month by enjoying July 4th – Independence Day. We hope you are able to spend time with family and loved ones, eat good food, and watch fireworks pop-off. Although this beautiful holiday is filled with good times, it’s always a gentle reminder for many of us to ask what “independence” truly means- given the context that slavery existed during this time and it wasn’t until Juneteenth, that a truer independence existed for all citizens in America.

V3 Sports celebrates Juneteenth as well as July 4th and we want to highlight why Juneteenth is so important to our nation. While many people know what happened on July 4th, many have yet to know what happened on Juneteenth, and why this became a federal holiday in 2021.

A person holding a sparkler.

Juneteenth’s origin dates back to June 19, 1865, when Union troops led by General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news of the Civil War’s end and the declaration of the Emancipation Proclamation. It took more than two years for the news to reach Texas, the westernmost Confederate state, despite the proclamation being issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863.

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.” – Gordon Granger, Union General, June 19, 1865.

The delay in spreading the message of emancipation to enslaved African Americans in Texas was attributed to a combination of factors, including the minimal presence of Union troops and the resistance of slaveholders to acknowledge their loss of property. General Granger’s announcement marked a pivotal moment in American history. As the echoes of emancipation reverberated from one ear to another, celebrations erupted among the newly freed population.

General Gordon Granger and Black Union Military.

Juneteenth is deeply rooted in a lot of community and family traditions and the holiday is celebrated with family reunions, parades, picnics, barbecues, and various cultural activities. These gatherings offer an opportunity for reflection, unity, and the passing down of stories and traditions. Juneteenth celebrations serve as a platform for educating younger generations about the historical context of slavery and the ongoing struggle for racial equality.

V3 recognizes the beauty and the importance of Juneteenth. V3 Sports joined Shiloh Temple on June 16, 2023, at Shiloh’s first annual community BBQ. As an organization invested in the elevation of the Black community, V3 recognizes Juneteenth as a holiday rooted in history, culture, and most importantly, a celebration of Black joy, prosperity, and freedom. It holds a special place in American history, symbolizing the end of slavery and the ongoing struggle for equality and justice.

Juneteenth celebration at Shiloh Temple in North Minneapolis.

We were honored to partner with the North Minneapolis community in celebrating Juneteenth with food, games, family activities, and a 3 on 3 basketball tournament. Importantly, we got to hear from community organizers who gave inspiring and educational speeches. 

Of course, acknowledging Juneteenth isn’t just a one day celebration – which is why we celebrate it on July 4th, and every other day of the year through our work to elevate the community through fitness, wellness and education. It’s important to acknowledge the history of this day and the sacrifices of enslaved people in our country. Here are some ways you can celebrate Juneteenth in your community: 

  • Support Black-Owned Businesses and Organizations.
  • Volunteer or donate your time to Black-Owned organizations and nonprofits.
  • Support legislative efforts that address racial inequality.
  • Amplify Black Voices by sharing work, attending events, and promoting contributions to society.
  • Educate yourself by reading articles, books, and stories, or watching documentaries.

Are you interested in learning more about V3, aquatic learning opportunities, or staying up-to-date on our 2023 adventures? Click here to connect!

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