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Dr. Artika R. Tyner is a passionate educator, award-winning author, sought-after speaker, and advocate for justice. She is the founder of Planting People Growing Justice Leadership Institute, working to “plant people” while offering them key educational and learning opportunities. This organic process aims to cultivate a multicultural literary and leadership landscape that encourages both social and racial justice within individuals and communities.

Juneteenth is known as the United States’ second Independence Day. The name Juneteenth symbolizes the significance of June 19, 1865, when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, and shared the news that slavery had ended. Two and a half years earlier, President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation marked the end of slavery. However, the enslaved people of Texas never received the news. U.S. General Gordon Granger announced, “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”

Since Granger’s decree, African Americans have gathered each year to celebrate Juneteenth and honor their ancestors. We eat a red dessert like red velvet cake and drink red hibiscus drinks to honor the sacrifices of our ancestors who lost their lives in the fight for freedom. Yet, this is also a time for everyone to recommit to our shared humanity and common destiny.