Our Day, Our Freedom: Juneteenth

Juneteenth, also known as “Freedom Day” or “Emancipation Day,” is a very important day for Black people, and even though it should have been recognized sooner, this day became a federal holiday in 2021 by President Biden.  Jamelle Bouie said, “Juneteenth may mark just one moment in the struggle for emancipation, but the holiday gives us an occasion to reflect on the profound contributions of enslaved Black Americans to the cause of human freedom.”

Juneteenth dates back to Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, when Union troops arrived and announced the freedom of slaves. Technically they were already free, but they didn’t know it. Two and a half years prior, the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. Slaveholders knew that the slaves were free, but they ignored the proclamation and continued to hold them hostage. This is also one example of why slave owners didn’t want slaves to learn how to read and write. If they didn’t know anything, they couldn’t question anything or do anything that would lead them towards a path to freedom.

There are a few individuals that have contributed to Juneteenth being recognized. One person was State Representative, Hon. Albert Ely Edwards, also known as “The Father of Juneteenth,” who was born in Houston, Texas. Edwards began his political career at the age of 41 and was elected to the Texas State Legislature from Houston’s House District 146. His first task was establishing a law that recognized the emancipation of slavery. In 1979, legislation passed the Texas State Legislature, and it was signed into law.

Another individual who contributed to the success of Juneteenth was Opal Lee, also known as the “Grandmother of Juneteenth,” who played an instrumental part in getting Juneteenth recognized as a federal holiday. Her efforts did not succeed in getting Juneteenth as a holiday during the Obama or Trump administration, but after the George Floyd incident and more individuals becoming more aware about Black history and the inequities that Blacks face, the idea of the holiday was more accepted. One month after Floyd’s death, Lee obtained a million signatures for her petition to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. The following year, her hard work paid off as President Biden signed the law-making Juneteenth an official federal holiday.

Juneteenth is not only a celebration of freedom, but a tribute and memorial to our ancestors who dreamt of this day to come. Juneteenth is also a reminder of how we can’t forget where we come from and the importance of keeping our history alive. This holiday marked the beginning of a new era for our slaves, and it is a day that shall never be forgotten.

We must keep up the work that Edwards and Lee have done with the same passion, motivation, and determination. Mariah Cooley said, “June 19th reminds me that I am the force of power to change this world and to follow in the footsteps of my ancestors to work towards liberation.” Let’s make our ancestors proud and continue the fight they fought for so long.

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October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit www.edwardsforhouston.com

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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