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380AEW Article

ADAB celebrates, educates, and honors Juneteenth

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jocelyn A. Ford
  • 380th Air Expeditionary Wing / Public Affairs

Senior Airman Hollye Ware, 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management technician, and her team took it upon themselves to educate ADAB on the significance of Juneteenth.

“The significance of Juneteenth is to celebrate the freedom of those slaves who were still living under horrible conditions after the Emancipation had been declared, mainly in Texas,” said Ware. “In hosting the event, we wanted to really push the fact that everyone appreciates the freedom and liberties given.”

More than 100 Airmen attended the event which included multiple stations, each with an opportunity to highlight a piece of history.

There was also a large red, black and green flag that the Airmen could get their photo in front of to commemorate the event. The colors have a deep history to African culture.

According to Tech. Sgt. Alycia Smalls, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Equal Opportunity director, the red represents the blood that unites all people of African ancestry, and shed for liberation; the black represents black people whose existence as a nation is affirmed by the existence of the flag; and the green signifies the abundant natural wealth of Africa.

“My culture recognizes those colors as being part of our liberation thanks to Marcus Garvey, the person who created the flag in the early 1900s,” said Ware. “For this event we chose to combine the colors with the U.S. flag to show the unity and acceptance that is now taking place.”

Ware jumped at the opportunity to lead the charge in making the event possible. She was born and raised in Texas, the last of the states to recognize the effects of the Emancipation Proclamation.

“I am an African American and appreciate the times that my ancestors had to fight through in order for me to not,” said Ware. “I respect the history of my people and admire the heart they maintained through their enslavement.”

Though the proclamation was signed in 1863, it wasn’t until Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, along with Union soldiers, entered Galveston on June 19, 1865, (Juneteenth) that slaves in Texas were told they were free.

Ware took the opportunity to “bring awareness to the fact that slavery wasn’t just declared over and then everyone went about their day as it if it never occurred.”

“America is slowing beginning to accept the black and African American culture for who we truly are and we see that,” said Ware. “We appreciate those who are willing to celebrate with us.”