Women's Health and Advocacy


This year’s Juneteenth celebration marks the 159th anniversary of the day union soldiers reached Galveston, Texas with news the Civil War had ended and enslaved African Americans were now free.

Union Major General Gordon Granger issued the following order in Galveston on June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, and two months after confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered:

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property, between former masters and slaves and the connection heretofore existing between them, becomes that between employer and hired labor. The Freedmen are advised to remain at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts; and they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day and Emancipation Day, is the oldest celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. It became a state holiday in Pennsylvania in 2019 and a federal holiday in 2021, further solidifying the national importance of the day in American history.

Journeying Toward Freedom Grant Program

The Pennsylvania Tourism Office in partnership with Chester County-based organization Voices Underground created the Journeying Toward Freedom grant program. It began in 2022 and as part of the initiative, competitive, matching grants of up to $15,000 are awarded to communities across Pennsylvania with a history of Juneteenth celebrations.

In its first year, $89,000 was awarded across seven organizations to fund Juneteenth events and celebrations.

For more information on the Journeying Toward Freedom program, visit here.

Senator Sharif Street spoke to the General Assembly in 2023 about his Juneteenth Resolution and the significance of acknowledging the holiday.

Journey Toward Freedom Grant Program

Established by the Pennsylvania Tourism Office in partnership with Voices Underground, the Wolf Administration has established a grant program to support Juneteenth celebrations across the Commonwealth in 2022.

$89,000 was awarded across seven organizations to fund events and celebrations that commemorate the history of June 19, 1865. The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development notes that this year’s Juneteenth festivals in Pennsylvania will include music, visual art, culinary art, spoken word productions, history presentations, and recognition of Black-owned businesses.

The seven recipients of the 2022 Journeying Toward Freedom grants are:

→ Juneteenth Lehigh Valley, Lehigh Valley
→ NAACP Johnstown Branch, Johnstown
→ Sherman Theater, Monroe County
→ Stop The Violence, Pittsburgh
→ The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau, State College
→ Welcome America, Inc., Philadelphia
→ Young Professionals of Color, Harrisburg