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Recognizing Juneteenth and Pride Month
LaJeune Adams

By: LaJeune Adams on June 6th, 2024

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Recognizing Juneteenth and Pride Month

Diversity & Inclusion

The month of June offers many recognitions honoring the diversity of our nation. We have celebrated many of those in past blogs. This year, we are focusing on the importance of Juneteenth and Pride Month.

Celebrating Juneteenth

On June 16, 2021, Congress passed legislation establishing Juneteenth as a holiday. This legislation was signed into law by President Joe Biden the next day.

Juneteenth was first established as a Texas state holiday in 1980. This celebration honors the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas and Louisiana finally heard that they were free, two full months after the end of the Civil War. June 19, therefore, became the day of emancipation for thousands of African American U.S. citizens. Most slaves received their freedom after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. However, slaves in Texas had to wait more than 2.5 years later to receive their freedom, on June 19, 1865, when the Union Army arrived in Galveston ordering that slavery end in the “Lone Star State.” Ever since that day, African Americans have celebrated the date as “Juneteenth Independence Day.”

Over the decades, Juneteenth has also been called Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, Black Fourth of July and Second Independence Day among others. Juneteenth celebrations in the United States typically include prayer and religious services, speeches, educational events, family gatherings and picnics, festivals with food, music and dancing.

Juneteenth food

The color red has been a through line for Juneteenth food for generations. Red symbolizes the bloodshed and sacrifice of enslaved ancestors. A Juneteenth menu might include items like barbecued ribs or other red meat, watermelon and red velvet cake. Drinks like fruit punch and other red drinks may make an appearance at the table. The day is also celebrated outside the United States. It is used to recognize the end of slavery as well as to celebrate African American culture and achievements as one cannot separate African American history from America’s history.

If you are interested in learning more about the celebrations in your area for Juneteenth, research what activities are happening in your area; many cities and towns offer festivals with food trucks, arts and crafts, parades and community resources.

Celebrating Pride Month

Celebrating Pride Month cannot happen without acknowledging its roots. The roots of the gay rights movement date back to the early 1900s, when a handful of individuals in North America and Europe created gay and lesbian organizations such as the Society for Human Rights, founded by Henry Gerber in Chicago in the 1920s.

In June of 1969, there were a series of violent riots in New York City that became the foundation for Pride Month. On June 28, 1969, police aggressively dragged patrons and employees out of the Stonewall Inn, a bar located on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, which was known to be frequented by those in the gay and lesbian community. Many patrons fought back against the NYPD. Confrontations quickly escalated, sparking six days of protests outside of the Stonewall Inn and throughout the neighborhood. This uprising was a tipping point for the gay liberation movement in the U.S.

Pride Month

A year later, on June 28, 1970, the first Pride parade started at the Stonewall Inn, as LGBTQ+ activists organized the “Christopher Street Liberation March.” The Pride March honored the Stonewall uprising and began a movement to support those in this community. As hundreds began marching, supporters from the crowd joined them, and thousands marched across 15 city blocks. International LGBT Pride Day is celebrated on June 28 to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, making this day part of Pride Month.

It has been shared that a professor spoke of the beginnings of Pride Month, stating, “It is just amazing to me that these regular, everyday people who had normal jobs – they weren’t politicians or celebrities, yet here they were sticking their necks out making themselves visible to make other people’s lives better.” As we celebrate Pride Month we celebrate the courage and strength of this community.  

PSL recognizes and celebrates Juneteenth and Pride Month. We do this with the focus of remembering everyone is worthy of respect. Everyone is worthy of kindness, compassion, understanding and support. As PSL communities celebrate with food and flags, with laughter and love, we thank the residents and team members of these communities for making PSL a richer place to live and work. During the month of June, take time to learn more about the history of Juneteenth and Pride Month. Be a supporter and ally to those in both these communities so that you can be the catalyst for the sense of belonging that everyone deserves.

Juneteenth Sources
Juneteenth | History, Meaning, Importance, & Facts | Britannica
A beginner’s guide to celebrating Juneteenth | PBS NewsHour

Pride Month Sources
31 Ideas To Thoughtfully Celebrate Pride Month (2024) (
Pride Month 2024: Origins, Parades & Dates | HISTORY

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About LaJeune Adams

PSL’s Cultures and Values give assurance of our organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, through ensuring that all stakeholders feel that they belong. By lifting up voices and people, we will create an organization where all stakeholders feel that they are of value. As part of this commitment PSL formed Culture Champions within each community and location within the organization. Culture Champions are PSL representatives empowered with leading the movement of living and teaching our values while embracing DEI initiatives and encouraging others to do the same. As the Corporate Director of Education and Development and DEI Officer, LaJeune Adams is one of the PSL leaders that supports and works directly with the Culture Champions. LaJeune has worked with Presbyterian Senior Living for over 16 years in the roles of Human Resources Manager and Area Human Resources Director prior to her current role.