The Importance of Juneteenth and How SWMW Law is Commemorating It


Juneteenth (short for June Nineteenth) marks the day in 1865 when slavery truly ended. President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Sept. 22, 1862, declaring that all enslaved people under Confederate control would be forever free. Unfortunately, it didn’t instantly free all slaves and it didn’t apply to slaves in the border states that remained loyal to the Union. That freedom didn’t’ come until the end of the Civil War and the arrival of Juneteenth.

Why Juneteenth is Important

Juneteenth is important for several reasons. Its historical relevance commemorates the end of slavery, highlighting a pivotal moment in American history. It’s also a day of cultural celebration, giving all Americans the opportunity to celebrate Black culture, achievements, and contributions to society. Juneteenth also provides the opportunity for reflection and education – to reflect upon the past, acknowledge the progress made, and educate future generations about the importance of freedom and equality.

How You Can Observe Juneteenth

There are many meaningful ways you can observe Juneteenth:

  1. Participate in Events: Many communities host parades, festivals, and educational events. Participating in these activities helps to support and celebrate Black culture. Locally in St. Louis, the 3rd Annual Juneteenth “FREE-DOME” Celebration will be held from 1-7 p.m. June 19 in Fairground Park. For more Juneteenth events in St. Louis, visit this link.
  2. Learn and Educate: Use this day to educate yourself and others about African American history and the significance of Juneteenth. Many libraries and museums offer special exhibits and programs, including the Missouri Historical Society.
  3. Support Black-Owned Businesses: Show your support and solidarity by shopping at Black-owned businesses and helping to build economic empowerment. A list of Black-owned businesses in St. Louis can be found here.
  4. Engage in Community Service: Consider volunteering your time and skills for organizations that work towards racial equality, social justice, and uplifting marginalized communities. This could involve participating in mentorship programs, supporting educational initiatives, or joining local advocacy groups.
  5. Amplify Black Voices: Use your platform, whether it be through social media, writing, or public speaking, to amplify Black voices and stories. Share educational resources, recommend literature by Black authors, or highlight Black artists, activists, and leaders who inspire you.
  6. Reflect and Discuss: Engage in meaningful conversations with friends and loved ones about the history and the impacts of slavery, racial equality, and social justice. Use this time to listen, learn, and empathize with different perspectives and experiences.

Juneteenth and SWMW Law

As it has in the past, SWMW Law will close its office in observance of Juneteenth, giving employees the opportunity to celebrate the end of slavery and to reflect on the future work we must do to end the systemic racism, prejudice, and discrimination that still plagues our country to this day.

Our mission statement at SWMW Law is “Because People Matter,” and we are committed to doing all we can to live up to this statement every day. To further bolster our own words with action, the firm will make donations to both the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and The Black Repertory Company, because not only do people matter, Black Lives Matter.

We ask that you join us on Juneteenth to reflect upon the legacy of slavery in our country and all the work that remains to be done. And after that – take some action – because that is, after all, what Juneteenth is all about.