Celebrating Juneteenth amid BLM protests

When President Trump last week scheduled a campaign rally on June 19th, or Juneteenth, it drew immediate criticism.

It is a holiday for many, but in the era of global Black Lives Matter protests it has an even greater significance.

What does June 19th mean in 2020?

[Voxpops in Sacramento, California.]

"I didn't even know what the concept was, I had no idea."

"In all of my schooling here in California, I'd never heard of it."

"It's the end of slavery and it might be when the last state heard about it."

Juneteenth is also known as Emancipation Day.

It marks the moment in 1865, after the end of the American Civil War, when the last group of black slaves were finally freed.

President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier.

It took that much time for Union soldiers to bring the news to them in Texas.

In 1980, Texas officially declared it a holiday.

It is now recognized in 46 other states and the District of Columbia, although it's not a federal holiday.

This is the 155th anniversary.

But, of course, it also coincides with global protests against racial injustice.

It's one of the reasons why Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma was criticized.

It wasn't just the timing, but the location itself: The 1921 Tulsa Massacre - of African Americans by a white mob - was one of the worst incidents of racial violence in U.S. history.

2020 is also different because this Juneteenth coincides with the coronavirus outbreak - which has disproportionately affected communities of color.

Many American cities have canceled annual parades due to the pandemic.

But it will still be marked in other ways.

Festive meals, gatherings, virtual conferences and smaller events are still expected to take place and we can expect it to be seen in protests that weekend.

Video Transcript

DONALD TRUMP: We're going to start our rallies back up now. We've had a--

- When President Trump last week scheduled a campaign rally on June 19, or Juneteenth, it drew immediate criticism.

- I can't breathe! I can't breathe!

- It's a holiday for many, but in the era of global Black Lives Matter protests, it has an even greater significance.

- Black lives matter. Black lives matter.

- What does June 19 mean in 2020?

- I didn't even grasp what the concept was or, you know, I had no idea.

- In all of my schooling here in California, I'd never heard of it.

- It was the end of slavery, and it might be when the last state heard about it.

- Juneteenth is also known as Emancipation Day. It marks the moment in 1865 after the end of the American Civil War when the last group of black slaves were finally freed. President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier. It took that much time for Union soldiers to bring the news to them in Texas.

In 1980, Texas officially declared it a holiday. It's now recognized in 46 other states and the District of Columbia, although it's not a federal holiday.

This is the 155th anniversary, but, of course, it also coincides with global protests against racial injustice.

- [INAUDIBLE] real change.

- That's one of the reasons why Trump's campaign rally was criticized. It wasn't just the timing but the location itself.

DONALD TRUMP: --be in Oklahoma, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

- The 1921 Tulsa massacre of African Americans by a white mob was one of the worst incidents of racial violence in US history.

DONALD TRUMP: When the African American community--

- 2020 is also different because this Juneteenth coincides with the coronavirus outbreak--

DONALD TRUMP: They're getting hit very, very hard. In fact--

- --which has disproportionately affected communities of color across the world. Many American cities have canceled their annual parades due to the pandemic, but it will still be marked in other ways. Festive meals, gatherings, virtual conferences, and smaller events are still expected to take place. And we can expect it to be seen in protests that weekend.

- And the fact that I have the privilege--