Dean of students, president of area HBCUs share what Juneteenth means to them

MIAMI VALLEY — Celebrations are happening across the Miami Valley Sunday in honor of Juneteenth.

Black Americans have celebrated Juneteenth for years, but now some believe since it is a federal holiday more have the opportunity to educate themselves about it.

This is the second year it has been celebrated as a federal holiday.

On June 19, 1865, enslaved people in Galveston Texas learned slavery was abolished more than two years after the emancipation proclamation went into effect.

“Juneteenth recognizes the agonizing conditions of our ancestors and basically what they endured because of those who refused to inform them that they are free,” Jack Thomas, Central State University President said.

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Thomas said it is an opportunity for the country to celebrate the independence of all Americans.

Gaelle Amazan-Ivory is the Dean of Students at Wilberforce University, a historically black university, she said while Juneteenth recognizes freedom it also remembers the obstacles many black Americans still face.

“My ancestors worked this land in the U.S. and received no money for it whereas the folks who owned the land got to pass it down to their children where generation after generation get to live on land that my ancestors built,” Amazan-Ivory said.

“If we don’t know our history or the things we have overcome then we are certainly doomed to repeat it,” Thomas said.