HONOLULU (KHON2) — Folks across the U.S. celebrated Juneteenth as a national holiday for the first time on Saturday, June 19.
President Biden signed a measure on Thursday, June 17, that marked June 19 as Juneteenth.
The holiday commemorates the end of slavery in the United States on June 19, 1865. While the Emancipation Proclamation initially freed slaves in the South in 1863, it was not enforced in many places until after the end of the Civil War in 1865.
A ceremony on Oahu was held at Kapiolani Park on Saturday, where folks honored their ancestors through dance, storytelling and by leaving offerings.
“Celebrating with our community, looking at our kids, letting them see us be in joy and celebration today. So the question of, ‘whether it will be bigger?’ We don’t know. Maybe there will be more people that will want to celebrate in that way. We hope so. It’s really important for people to be celebrating.”Akiemi Glenn, Popolo Project executive director
Even though Juneteenth is a federal holiday, the U.S. Postal Service still delivered mail because it was not given enough time to close operations.
Gov. David Ige signed a bill that acknowledges “Juneteenth Day” in Hawaii as a day of remembrance on Wednesday, June 16.