This week, African Americans will mark Juneteenth — a portmanteau of “June” and “nineteenth” — a holiday commemorating the freedom of their ancestors from chattel slavery. This year, it is time for the Jewish community to join them.
All across the country, black communities will parade, will feast, and will pay respect to the ancestors, among other activities. This will take place again this year, as it has in the years before it, despite the fact that to this day there is no national commemoration of emancipation in the United States, not on June 19th or on any other federal holiday on the calendar. Juneteenth, celebrated nationally even without official standing, has come to mark both the end of slavery and the ongoing struggle for civil rights in America.