Jawando, Council Commemorate Juneteenth

County Councilmember Will Jawando led a council proclamation commemorating Juneteenth on Tuesday.

Jawando said Juneteenth has been celebrated by African Americans as a “second independence day,” and formally recognizes the day U.S. General Gordon Granger came before a crowd in Texas to read the general order implemented by Abraham Lincoln legally freeing enslaved people.

“I think a lot of times when we tell the story of Juneteenth we tell the celebratory part of it, we forget the part that enforced and created a system of bondage in another name,” Jawando said. “And so it reminds us of the duality of being American, that we make progress and we take steps forward but we still have so much to do.”

“It is important to understand even the limits of Lincoln in his thinking about what freedom should have meant in the United States,” said County Executive Marc Elrich.

“When Granger reads this General Order #3, there was not immediate excitement,” said Jim Stowe, director of the county’s Office of Human Rights.

“A person first of all didn’t know what he was talking about. What does free mean after years and years and decades and decades of bondage? And so, until we free the mind, M-I-N-D, are people truly free,” said Stowe.

Elrich noted Juneteenth was largely invisible in the county until the last couple of years, pointing out “a lot of events” planned throughout the county this weekend. He felt the holiday now gets the recognition it deserves.

Residents can join multiple Juneteenth events planned this weekend.

It’s freedom day,” said Scotland resident LaTisha Gasaway-Paul, chairperson of the Scotland Juneteenth Heritage Festival. “It’s about feasting, it’s about fellowship, it’s about faith,”

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