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Advocacy & Education

Juneteenth National Independence Day: Celebrating this Historic Day

June 2, 2023

Juneteenth, a blending of the words June and nineteenth, is the oldest known U.S. celebration of the end of slavery. It commemorates June 19, 1865, the day that Union Major General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas and informed slaves of their emancipation from slavery. In 1980, Texas was the first state to make Juneteenth a state holiday, although it had been celebrated informally since 1865.

The Juneteenth holiday achieved federal recognition on June 17, 2021, when President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, establishing June 19th as a federal holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the U.S. The recognition of the holiday further reaffirmed the nation’s willingness to own up to its transgressions, as well as its desire to chart a new course towards inclusion and freedom for all people.

“As a diverse organization, we take pride in recognizing the rich histories of all our cultures. For decades and within the African American community, Juneteenth has been a day full of celebrations and recounting stories of how far the community has come,” says LifeGift president and CEO Kevin Myer. “While acknowledging how much more is to be done, it brings me great pride to recognize this holiday in in our communities and the countless contributions of African Americans.”

LifeGift is honored to celebrate Juneteenth National Independence Day. Juneteenth is an annual designated holiday for LifeGift and was introduced as an observed holiday prior to the federal designation. This historic day is an opportunity to recognize the struggles we have gone through as a people, the heights we have achieved, and the realization that we continue to be a work in progress, always striving together toward that beautiful vision of a nation that our Founders knew we could one day be.

LifeGift will be participating in the Juneteenth HBCU Alliance Career Fair on June 16th and the Juneteenth Celebration at Redemption Square on June 17th both in Houston, Texas. For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please contact a LifeGift community engagement specialist. Please email for more information on these events and how to participate.