Celebrate Juneteenth

The Imagine Institute joins the national push to recognize Juneteenth as a federal holiday

The Imagine Institute is proud to announce the recognition of Juneteenth as an official paid holiday. Observed annually on June 19th, Imagine will close its offices on that day with employees receiving paid holiday time. When Juneteenth falls over a weekend, the office will close the Friday before or the Monday after. 

The Imagine Institute is proud to join the ranks of states recognizing Juneteenth, including Washington, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Virginia. 

“The stories we learn and the stories that are told are a decisive element in the way we move throughout society. The celebration of Juneteenth, which commemorates the delayed justice for millions of Black Americans, marks the nation’s true Independence Day. Telling this story of the hard-won fights for liberation and freedom is an important step in preventing the repetition of systemic racism,” says Amelia Vassar, Director of Evaluation and Equity at the Imagine Institute.

About Juneteenth

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865 when Union Major General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas and told slaves of their emancipation from slavery, two years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Also called “Freedom Day” or “Jubilee Day,” Juneteenth is recognized in some form in 47 states. However, only five states offer Juneteenth as a paid state holiday. The Imagine Institute joins the voices in Washington State encouraging other states and the federal government to follow suit.

“We should be clear eyed about our country’s history. While we celebrate Independence Day for liberating Americans from tyranny, we obscure an important truth: that millions of Americans were still in bondage on that day and for nearly a century to come. Juneteenth celebrates the liberation of Black Americans from the evils of chattel slavery—when all Americans became free. It is a day we should all remember and celebrate.” says Cate Bridenstine, Executive Director.


Learn more about the history of Juneteenth at Celebrating in the Seattle area this year? Check out this guide to local celebrations and activities!