For Immediate Release

June 18, 2021

Juneteenth Recognized as a Federal Holiday

Yesterday, President Biden recognized Juneteenth as a federal holiday. This marked a significant point in the long history of the freedom of enslaved African Americans in the United States and in recent years, the Black Lives Matter movement sparked by the racial injustice of police brutality. On behalf of our network, APPEAL recognizes the importance of Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

The most recent years were largely affected by tragedy, particularly following nationwide protests regarding police brutality and the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black Americans. The passing of Juneteenth as a federal holiday represents a spark of renewed energy as a day that celebrates freedom, while recognizing the importance of the racial justice work that must continue.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19 and became the 11th holiday recognized by the federal government on June 17, 2021. A century and a half after enslaved African Americans were told they were free, communities across the United States continue to celebrate the occasion. This day has a long history in the United States, and many have fought to recognize it as more than symbolic rather, a day representing the freedom of enslaved people and the need for continued racial justice.

Today, celebrations take new forms and resonate in various ways, with pushes for change and widespread advocacy across the United States and the world. APPEAL recognizes the importance of this holiday and the contributions throughout history of Black communities in the fight for racial justice and against racism as a key public health issue. 

“Juneteenth signifies a path that was paved by the suffering of so many and the fight towards racial justice and health equity that must continue,” said Rod Lew, Executive Director for APPEAL.  “Juneteenth brings hope. We will continue to work towards dismantling racism as a fundamental public health strategy because we recognize without it, we cannot realize health equity. As we celebrate the importance of Juneteenth, we look to a future where we will pursue more representations of justice for our communities of color.” 

To find some places to donate and ways to take action as Asian Americans, take a look at the crowdsourced document Asian Accountability to Black People.

Contact: Rachel Hernandez, Communications Manager

      [email protected] or 510-210-5907

APPEAL (Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy, and Leadership) works to champion social justice and achieve equity and empowerment for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders by supporting and mobilizing community-led movements through advocacy and leadership development on critical public health issues. For more information visit