Juneteenth

Also known by such names as Freedom Day and Jubilee Day, Juneteenth is a celebration of the end of slavery in the former Confederacy after the end of the American Civil War.

This year marks the first celebration of Juneteenth as an official Federal Holiday in the United States.

source: amny.com

Juneteenth has grown to be a day that is observed in the US and around the world, as it symbolizes not only the fight against the evil that is slavery, but also the fight against racism in all its forms. Slavery finally came to end in the US in 1865, but racism lies at the heart of so many of the evils that still haunt the United States, Canada, and indeed, humanity. Current issues such as Black Lives Matter, Critical Race Theory, and on June 19th, the establishment of Juneteenth as an official holiday, are all just part of the ongoing and centuries old struggle against racism.

Find out more about Juneteenth:

source: mosaictemplars.com

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

In 2005 the United Nations designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The term “Holocaust” refers to the period in history in which the Nazi regime of Germany murdered over 6 million Jews, as well as millions of other victims, including Roma, homosexuals, people with physical and mental disabilities, and more. The Nazi persecution of the Jews began in the early 1930’s and reached its most horrific and brutal peak during the period of 1941-1945, as the Nazis adopted as official policy the “Final Solution,” the attempt at completely annihilating the entire Jewish population.

Holocaust RemembranceSource: CC / Sienda
Source: CC / Sienda

The Holocaust is not the only example of genocide in human history. What makes the Holocaust stand out amongst the long and plentiful list of human atrocities and evil?  Germany was amongst the most powerful nations of the world and a leader in science, technology, medicine and engineering.  The German contributions to art, music, literature and philosophy put German culture at the heart of what we would call Western Civilization. And yet this supposedly civilized people turned their great achievements and progress towards planning and carrying out ruthless genocidal murder with scientific and economic efficiency.

Children selected for extermination
source: wikimedia commons / public domain

The date of January 27 was chosen for this solemn observance as the death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated on January 27, 1945.

Auschwitz Death Camp
source: Diego Delso, Wikimedia Commons, License CC-BY-SA 3.0

For more on the Holocaust:

Yad Veshem

US Holocaust Memorial Museum

Jewish Virtual Library

Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre

United Nations / UNESCO

Hank Aaron

The world lost a true hero last week, as Henry “Hank” Aaron passed away at the age of 86. Hank Aaron was one of the greats of the sport of baseball, one of the best players ever to put on a major league uniform. More than that, he was a great human being. The legendary Muhammad Ali, in his day considered by many to be the world’s most famous, if not greatest, athlete, said of Aaron, that he was the “only man I idolize more than myself.” (Baseball Hall of Fame). In 1973 Aaron hit his 715th home run to pass the iconic Babe Ruth with the most ever. Aaron was under intense scrutiny as he approached the record, all the more because he was a black man who was about to break the record of a white hero, something that was unacceptable to the white supremacist ethos. Aaron faced intense racism, including death threats against him and his family. Remarkably, even in the face of such despicable conditions, he continued to perform on the field, crushing the all-time record, holding it for more than 30 years. For all who knew him personally, it was not surprising that off the field he continued to live a life of humility, dignity and integrity. Hank Aaron was an outspoken supporter of the Civil Rights movement, and spent his post-playing days working for many humanitarian and philanthropic causes.

Find out more about Hank Aaron:

Baseball Hall of Fame

Hank Aaron’s Legacy…

Civil Rights Walk of Fame

Hank Aaron’s Lasting Impact

Hank Aaron: Home Run Hero

Martin Luther King Jr.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on this day in 1929.

Dr. King was the leading figure of the Civil Rights Movement, as African-Americans struggled for freedom and equality in the United States. Dr. King was a brilliant orator and an inspirational leader. Dr. King was committed to the principals to non-violence, in part based on the example of Gandhi in India.  He believed that the only path towards a peaceful resolution of the plight of black people in the United States was through non-violence, civil disobedience, and peaceful protest.

source: CC / Wes Kandela

For more on the life of Dr. King:

Current Issues, Current Events

Come by the School Library and check out our feature display of titles related to some of the big ideas and events that affect our world right now.

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Juneteenth

Also known by such names as Freedom Day and Jubilee Day, Juneteenth is a celebration of the end of slavery in the former Confederacy after the end of the American Civil War.

source: amny.com

Juneteenth has grown to be a day that is observed in the US and around the world, as it symbolizes not only the fight against the evil that is slavery, but also the fight against racism in all its forms. In light of current events, this Juneteenth in 2020 is especially significant

Find out more about Juneteenth:

source: mosaictemplars.com