Why Juneteenth Matters to Self-Help At Self-Help, we believe we’re all stronger when we extend freedom and opportunity to more people — especially those who have been excluded. As a celebration of liberation and new opportunity, Juneteenth fits right into our mission and values. We know that access to ownership and economic opportunity are crucial elements of freedom. We work hard every day to support our Black communities, members and partners as they create thriving, liberated and rich lives. How We're Celebrating Our branches and contact center will be closed on Monday, June 19th, giving our staff the day off to enjoy family, friends, community, and leisure. We’re also celebrating in other ways: Posters and other materials in the branch A “What Juneteenth Means to Me” art contest. Pick up a “What Juneteenth Means to Me” sheet in the branch (or download it for printing here) and return it by June 15th for a chance to receive $100 deposited into a new or existing Self-Help savings account! Follow our #Draw2Win hashtag on social media to see the latest drawings branches featured. Member and community engagement eventsCome by your local branch anytime in the first half of June to pick up your #Draw2Win sheet and participate in various other member appreciation and celebration events. And keep an eye on our social media feeds for more. We look forward to celebrating with you! From all of us at Self-Help, happy Juneteenth. Juneteenth Facts What's the significance of June 19?Juneteenth honors June 19, 1865, the day when freedom finally came for enslaved people in Texas — two months after the end of the Civil War and more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. On that day, Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, and U.S Major General Gordon Granger issued General Order 3, informing the people of Texas that the Union had prevailed in the war and now had the power to enforce emancipation in the state. Texas was the last state to have emancipation announced and enforced. When did Juneteenth begin?In 1866, one year after news of emancipation arrived in Texas, freedmen in Texas organized large celebrations marking the day, and the Juneteenth holiday was born. Although Juneteenth began in Texas, over time the holiday became popular in other states. Today it is celebrated across the nation, and it became an official federal holiday in 2021. How is Juneteenth celebrated?Juneteenth is a happy, joyful holiday. People typically celebrate with food, family, friends and community, enjoying cookouts, fireworks, parades, music and more. It’s traditional to serve red drinks and food at Juneteenth celebrations. The vibrant color symbolizes the bloodshed and resilience of enslaved ancestors. What is the meaning of the Juneteenth flag? The Juneteenth flag is full of symbolism: Red, white and blue remind us that enslaved people and their descendants were and are Americans. The central star symbolizes Texas, the “Lone Star state,” where Juneteenth began. It also represents freedom for all Black people across the U.S. The bursting outline around the star symbolizes the spread of freedom. It also represents a new beginning for formerly enslaved people. The curved horizon line represents a new dawn of opportunity for Black Americans and a new beginning for a country no longer held back by the atrocity of slavery. How else do we celebrate emancipation? In addition to Juneteenth, many states celebrate “Emancipation Day.” In many states, including North and South Carolina, Emancipation Day is January 1, commemorating the day President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. In some states — like Florida, where Emancipation Day is May 20 — the day is similar to Juneteenth, marking the day emancipation officially arrived in that state. Want to learn more about Juneteenth? The National Museum of African American History and Culture and this essay by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. are great resources.