The Wisconsin Herd are committed to addressing issues of systemic oppression, racism, listening to black voices and finding ways to create change in its community in response to police brutality and other forms of discrimination and racism against black people. Standing Undivided, the Herd will continue to speak out against racism and social injustices and find ways to be agents of change in its community.

Recognizing Juneteenth

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with 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.

Recounting the memories of that great day in June of 1865 and its festivities would serve as motivation as well as a release from the growing pressures encountered in their new territories. The celebration of June 19th was coined “Juneteenth” and grew with more participation from descendants. The Juneteenth celebration was a time for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members.

How can I celebrate Juneteenth and why is it so important?

One of the main ways to celebrate the ending of slavery and freedom of black people in America is to educate yourself on the experience black people have endured and continue to endure as it relates to racism, discrimination, and other social justice issues. While this day should be honored and celebrated because it led to the freedom of black people and ending of slavery in America, it is important to understand the issues that still need to be addressed and changed (including racism, systemic oppression and police brutality) for black people to feel complete freedom in the United States of America.

Places in the Milwaukee area where you can celebrate Juneteenth can be found here.

What resources can I use to educate myself on Juneteenth and obtain additional information on black history?

  • Visit juneteenth.com to obtain extensive information on this holiday, its history and ways to get involved in your community
  • The Undefeated covers race, sport and culture through articles, podcasts and other long-form content
  • James Baldwin was a renowned author and essayist who has tackled issues on race relations, the black experience, systemic oppression, writing books including “If Beale Street Could Talk” and you can watch a documentary through his lens titled, “I Am Not Your Negro”
  • Movies to watch that highlight racism in sports and how people overcame these obstacles include Glory Road, Pride and Remember The Titans
  • Other movies to consider watching: Roots, The Help, The Color Purple, Justice, Selma and Just Mercy

What local organizations can I volunteer or donate to as it relates to civil rights and addressing racism?

  • A Stone of Hope in nearby Appleton, Wisconsin is an exhibit that highlights the black experience and explores local Black history in the Fox Valley from the 1700s to the present.
  • The ACLU of Wisconsin focuses on the civil rights of all Americans including protestors’ rights
  • Public Allies focuses on recruiting and developing young leaders through education and constant innovation