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Juneteenth: Celebrate, Remember, Reflect, Strategi...

Juneteenth: Celebrate, Remember, Reflect, Strategize

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Juneteenth celebrates the Black community’s liberation from slavery. With new, shiny interest in Juneteenth as a holiday, it is important that we understand what we are celebrating. Juneteenth is a time to celebrate, remember, reflect, and strategize for a better future. It’s a time to honor our ancestors as the freedom fighters that got us to where we are today:

  • We fought for freedom as we were dragged from our homes and onto slave ships,
  • We fought for freedom on the dreadful Middle Passage,
  • We fought for freedom when we stepped onto this soil,
  • We fought for freedom always and in all ways –

We made it so hot with our uprisings and rebellions, that the world FINALLY caught up with us and said enough is enough.  Enter official Emancipation.

Did you know…

That many enslaved people were not actually freed until 2.5 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed?

Emancipation Timeline:

  • January 1, 1863, United States: President Lincon signs the Emancipation Proclamation, which declares those enslaved in Confederate controlled areas to be freed.

Slavery continues to be legal in southern states that are loyal to the Union.

Slavery continues in Confederate areas where there is no Union army.

  • June 19, 1865, Texas: General Order: Number 3 “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with the Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”

Union soldiers, led by Major General Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with the news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, Union forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

  • December 6, 1865, United States: Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution “abolishes” U.S. Slavery.

Enslaved people in Kentucky gain their freedom and the constitution declares slavery illegal.

  • 2024, To be continued…: A “loophole” in the 13th Amendment paved the way for mass incarceration and Prison (Slave) Labor. We still have work to do!

Happy Juneteenth!


Tonya Marie Amos received a BA in Anthropology from U.C. Berkeley, trained for 4 years on scholarship at Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, and danced professionally for 15 years in New York. Introduced to Pilates over forty years ago as a young, injured dancer, she received her Comprehensive Pilates training in 2004 with Nora St. John and Naomi Leiserson. She has since furthered her skills studying with 30+ Master Teachers. Owner of award-winning Aspire Pilates Center and Artistic Director of Grown Women Dance Collective, Tonya uniquely combines arts and wellness for social justice. Her stunning annual Juneteenth dance concert teaches and celebrates Black history. She is currently developing the Joyful Movement Pilates Life Skills Teacher Training program, which will help increase resilience, resistance, self-empowerment, and joy in Black communities. She brings inspiring and healing experiences to communities that traditionally don't have access and is proud to help build cross-cultural and intergenerational bridges with her work. To learn more about the Grown Women Dance Collective or the Joyful Movement Pilates Life Skills program, visit www.GrownWomenDance.org Follow on Instagram: @GrownWomenDanceCollective

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