With Republican lawmakers nationally stating that Black history and Black perspectives are irrelevant via their attacks on Critical Race Theory, the Defender asked the people their thoughts on “Why is Juneteenth still relevant?” Here is what you had to say:

Juneteenth is the quintessential celebration of truth-telling. Long before it was an official holiday, Black families passed down the true story of the emancipation of enslaved Africans in Texas. We were teaching Critical Race Theory, which is simply truth, before it was a “thing.” (Sharon Watkins Jones)

Because JUNETEENTH! This is our “Independence” day. This the 1st legislative step to freedom. If we don’t celebrate our freedom day, then others will define what our history and our freedom looks like. (Dr. Angela Anderson)

In this June 6, 2020, file photo, demonstrators protest near the White House in Washington over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. (AP Photo / Alex Brandon, File)

Because we need to celebrate that we still rise in spite of all the obstacles put in our path, including destroying our Church’s and Communities. (Dr. Patricia Prather)

It’s as relevant to us as July 4th is relevant to the original immigrants. Freedom will forever be significant to the oppressed!!! (KaRa Ma’at)

JUNETEENTH reminds us all that the full story of the progressive struggle of formerly enslaved African people has yet to be told. The knowledge of that struggle highlights our current condition and the path we should travel moving forward. (Dr. Marlon Smith)

Juneteenth is the Black “Independence Day.” A holiday that hasn’t reached its pinnacle or national observation, to commemorate the end of the Civil War which lead to our freedom. I think the holiday is blighted by our current oppression and enslavement through incarceration. However, “take it from me someday we’ll all be free.” Which is progress we should still celebrate. (Ali’Olu David Zaid)

Juneteenth is an important marker of sacred time for Black people in Texas. American slavery did not end in several other states until November of that year. We need to note the true history of emancipation. (Pastor Kwesi Kamau)

Because it is the true story of Freedom for Black People. Normally Blacks/African Americans have been lost when it comes to history. This is an instance where we truly are part of the narrative. (Vannessa Wade)

It can cause one to look back. What is seen depends upon your circle of influence and your perspective. What I “see” are the many giant shoulders upon which I stand. (Joyce Karimah Johnson)

It marks the end of an era and the beginning of an era. With hindsight, that is solely where its relevancy lies. (Sentwali Olushola)

Juneteenth represents a stage in the metamorphosis of a whole people, en masse. Every single, solitary soul, Black, white, enslaved or free was impacted, has been impacted, and will forever be impacted by the occurrence of Juneteenth. It changed the trajectory of this entire country. (Norma Thomas)

Juneteenth is relevant because it was the first day in US History that ALL people were free. (Rudy Malveaux)

There’s no real positive relevance to Juneteenth for Black People, other than our desperate desire to be included in America. Juneteenth Celebration where white southerners kept the information of our freedom for two years to have two more successful crop harvests from us is the equivalent of Black folks taking pig digestive entrails and making chitlins. Another example of us taking sh*t instead of changing sh*t. (Iniher Aziz)

Juneteenth is relevant because it serves as a reminder that we are not yet really FREE, but it should serve as an inspiration to remind us that we must not get too comfortable and forget that the struggle/war to get to our true freedom continues. (Sheena Fox)

Juneteenth marked the so-called end of our ancestors being treated like equipment to them beginning to create their own reality…unfortunately it was a very short period because they were declared the enemy by all the institutions of this society…a declaration that has lasted up till this day…. (Seyoum Osaze)

It is a definitive date of recognition of freedom for all enslaved people living in this country. (Geynille Agee)

It’s relevant as all celebrated events are as they relate to Black people’s denied and or delayed freedom and justice. (Terry Parker)

Juneteenth (6-19-1865) provides context on the idea of freedom in Texas, the US and world. Few ask why is the 4th of July (7-4-1776) still relevant. It’s tied to the idea of freedom. June 19, 1865 and ultimately the 13th Amendment ended legal slavery except as punishment for conviction of a crime in the US. Yet, there’s more to it. Juneteenth has been a time of celebration and reflection. Sadly, we realize also that 9-15-1829 (abolition of slavery in Mexico); the THIRD of July 1848 (emancipation of slaves in islands now known as US Virgin Islands); and Puerto Rico’s March 22, 1873 are also about freedom and emancipation. That’s a missing part of many other missing parts of history. Juneteenth is a point among many points of abolition, emancipation and the quest for justice and freedom in Texas, US and the world. (Kevin Johnson)

Juneteenth is still relevant because so many of us don’t know about it! I am proud of our young people who do know about it but saddened by many of us who don’t know about Juneteenth. It was never taught in school. I learned about Juneteenth as a little girl when my mom and her friends organized the Phillis Wheatly organization for girls in the early 1960’s. (Pamela Wise Harrison)