Goodfellow Celebrates Juneteenth

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Madison Collier
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

Goodfellow hosted its first-ever Juneteenth block party, June 16.

On June 19, 2021, President Joe Biden signed legislation to declare Juneteenth as a federal holiday. Even though Juneteenth is the youngest national holiday, its origin is rooted deep in American history.

It's observed on June 19 because on that day in 1865 Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger announced General Order No. 3, which proclaimed freedom for enslaved people in Texas, the last state of the Confederacy with institutional slavery. This event happened more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, which freed enslaved African Americans in Confederate states.

Early on, these celebrations consisted of moments of reflection on African Americans' progress toward racial equality and self-improvement, religious sermons, and readings of the Emancipation Proclamation. As Juneteenth grew in popularity and acceptance, these celebrations now include parades, pageants, festivals, and community events which feature traditional African American cuisine.

This year, Staff Sgt. Erika Watson, Juneteenth action officer, and her team celebrated with educational static displays, food trucks, featured speakers, and activities such as ax-throwing and a basketball tournament.


"I always wondered if Juneteenth would be recognized on base,” said Watson. “When President Joe Biden made it a federal holiday in 2021, who gave us the freedom to finally celebrate, educate, and bring awareness to what Juneteenth represents while in a safe space.”

For Watson, like many other African Americans that celebrate Juneteenth, the holiday is a way of recognizing the history of her ancestors and honoring them by continuing to educate her peers engagingly.

The event featured three presenters who spoke about what Juneteenth means to them and their communities, as well as the history and symbolism of the holiday.

“The observance of Juneteenth is vitally important because it gives us a moment to reflect on the injustices of the past and allows us to pave a positive way forward for future generations,” said Technical Sgt. Corey Peterson, Juneteenth event featured speaker.