By Lynn Branigan
June brings warm weather, the start of summer, and the longest days of the year. Perhaps that’s why so much important work was done during the month of June. Hard work that made history … pursued in the name of freedom.
Two of the most important commemorations that happen in June are Pride and Juneteenth. Both of these “freedoms” were arrived at through struggle, protest, and perseverance.
Pride Month is celebrated for and by the LGBT community to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion in New York City in June of 1969. The Stonewall Uprising was triggered when police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village. During an oppressive period for those in the gay community, people sought refuge and inclusion in gay bars and clubs, where they could express themselves openly. Authorities penalized and closed establishments that served alcohol to LGBT individuals, but the raid on the Stonewall Inn sparked a riot and six days of protests, ultimately giving rise to the modern LGBT movement that has secured essential rights and freedoms for the community.
Juneteenth is now rightly recognized as a national holiday in the US. While most students of history were taught that Abe Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves, it didn’t instantly free anyone. What’s more, the proclamation only applied to people in Confederate states and not to slave-holding border states or areas under Union control. It wasn’t until 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take control of the state, that all enslaved people were officially freed. And while the fight for equality continues, President Biden declared June 19 a national holiday in 2021 stating, “Juneteenth represents not only the commemoration of the end of slavery in America more than 150 years ago, but the ongoing work to bring true equity and racial justice into American society.”
Freedom is celebrated in June, but it is also at risk in June. As the Supreme Court approaches its summer recess at the end of this month, the justices are expected to release an opinion in a case that could overturn Roe v. Wade. While it’s also expected to return regulation to individual states, many states across the nation have bans and restrictions of their own.
She Runs It is an organization that exists to lift and propel women to succeed. We believe that choice empowers a person to control her/their/his own destiny. And that’s what it means to be truly free.