BPY Commemorates Juneteenth
This past Friday, in anticipation of the commemoration of Juneteenth, the elementary school and middle school students participated in age appropriate assemblies to help them understand the meaning of the day. On June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas, a Union General announced the end of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. This was two years after President Lincoln made the Emancipation Proclamation. In the elementary school assembly, they discussed how federal holidays celebrate good things that happened in this country, sad things that happened and important people. Juneteenth commemorates the abolition of slavery. Mrs. Maron read “All Different Now, Juneteenth The First Day of Freedom,” by Angela Johnson. The beautifully illustrated story depicts a child’s memory of when she and her family were freed. Students discussed how happy they were, but also how daunting it was to leave knowing that they had no property or money and may not know where their family members were. It was a long road ahead, but they were free!
In middle school, after learning the history of the day, the students heard interviews of ex-slaves who shared their memories of Juneteenth. Hearing the interviews and seeing the images helped the students get a glimpse into what life was like for the slaves and what Juneteenth really meant to them. Rabbi Zucker ended the assembly by discussing the significance of the day and why it is important for all Americans to commemorate this day.