My Heart Skips for Juneteenth 2021

Updated: Jun 21

Renewing My Faith in Freedom for All People


By Folake Phillips


Congress has approved a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday and yesterday President Biden signed it into law. Thinking back to our country’s crisis last summer after George Floyd’s death in the midst of a pandemic, this is a remarkable achievement by so many on-the-ground activists and a welcomed social progress.

The Senate unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday to make June 19, or Juneteenth National Independence Day, a US holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States and the House voted 415-14 Wednesday to make Juneteenth, or June 19th, the 12th federal holiday, 156 years later after the Union Army general Gordon Granger proclaimed freedom for slaves in Texas, and 159 years after Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of 1862.

Through it all, I believe that the conversations and discussions addressing racial equality and disparities across every sector, more public awareness education on the legacy of slavery and its lingering effects today, as well as genuine daily actions that improve and include the lives of marginalized African-Americans must continue and continue strongly.


Raised in San Jose, Tyson Amir uses the craft of Spoken Word to illuminate the black experience in compelling ways that provoke the listening heart to think critically. A rapper with a moving message and insight filled lyrics, Tyson is also a poet, emcee, educator, author and activist. Above all, he’s “a freedom fighter,” working to bring about more humanity, justice and peace for all. I have invited him as the lead artist for this year's HUEmankind Fest 2021 to feature the African American experience but also to transcend and transform it. Please join me on June 26th to experience his electrifying intersection of literature, freedom and selflessness!


What’s more, all the generous support from the County of Santa Clara and Supervisor Otto Lee, as well as sponsors and funders across Silicon Valley and California for AWỌ's HUEmankind Fest 2021 gives me the hope and the drive to take more communities along with me on this unfolding journey of citizen social engagement. As neighbors, co-workers, and fellow students, let us include and amplify more diverse stories and unheard voices from our local communities in order to create more equitable social outcomes. Together, with a collective voice and a HUEmanity narrative that bears our stories, so that even after we have come undone, our future can become truly sustainable.

Sign up for FREE festival tickets today at www.awocenter.org !

And tomorrow, on June 19, 2021, let us remember and celebrate the all of the freedom fighters from the past to the present who have made Juneteenth possible for us today.


See you at AWỌ's HUEmankind Fest 2021 on June 26 & June 27.

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