You've never heard of Juneteenth? Before today, neither had I. But apparently it is a recognized holiday in 36 US states!
So what is it? Well, although Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was put into effect January 1, 1863, some folks in Texas didn't know until June 19, 1865. So Juneteenth commerates the day when all the slaves were finally free. The name comes from a combination of June and Nineteenth. I wonder how many of these holidays are hiding out that I don't know about just because I'm white?
A few years ago, my aunt Chris became involved with an African American church and helped them start a private, Christian school for K-3rd grade called Joshua Christian Academy. Last year it opened with 8 students (including my 7-year-old cousin... if you go to the site I think you'll be able to figure out which one she is). This fall they're going to have 25! The school wants to limit the class sizes to 15 and add a grade every year. It's a pretty amazing story, and I want to write more on it later.
So today, Juneteenth, there was a parade in Des Moines and JCA had students walk and a van drive in it. It had been quite stormy the past few days, but the sun was bright and shining this morning. We all wore red for the school colors and walked about 15 blocks, throwing candy and waving to people. I'll admit- I felt pretty white :-) There weren't as many kids on the route as we expected, but we still threw out lots of candy. I love parades in Iowa. They have always been a big part of summers for me here.
Anyway, so now you know. Happy Juneteenth!