Hollywood's biggest stars are joining millions of Americans in observing Juneteenth.
The holiday, aimed to mark the end of slavery in the United States, has received greater attention this year following the death of George Floyd and other Black men and women at the hands of police.
"Happy Juneteenth! Personally, I've made the decision to give all of my employees June 19th off in honor of Freedom Day from now on, and to continue to educate myself on the history that brought us to this present moment," Taylor Swift shared on Instagram. "For my family, everything that has transpired recently gives us an opportunity to reflect, listen, and reprogram any part of our lives that hasn't been loudly and ferociously anti-racist, and to never let privilege lie dormant when it could be used to stand up for what's right.
Pharrell Williams, who helped make Juneteenth a state holiday in Virginia also spoke out in a recent press conference. "This is our chance to lead, to truly embrace the importance of Juneteenth and to treat it as a celebration of freedom that Black people truly deserve," he shared.
According to NBC News, African Americans have celebrated Juneteenth for more than a century with parades, parties and other gatherings. Today, Juneteenth is now recognized by 47 states and the District of Columbia as a state holiday or observance.
See how celebrities are marking the day on social media below.
Kim Kardashian: "Today on #JuneTeenth we reflect, educate and commemorate the end of slavery in the US. We celebrate our black family members, friends and colleagues and the members of our community. We recommit ourselves to fight alongside then for their equal rights and equal justice."
Tom Hanks: "A Day to celebrate. Nationally. Working towards Liberty and Justice. For All. Hanx."
Candiace Dillard Bassett: "I have always celebrated this day quietly to myself. I've always said a prayer on this day — thanked the ancestors for their courage. How far we have come as a people. How far we have to go. Being Black is a gift every day but I truly revel in it today. I'm emotional today. I don't want to fight today or argue today. I want to be seated and thank God I come from a people who can truly survive anything — and did. I am grateful. Happy Juneteenth to my people."
Lupita Nyong'o: "This is Opal Lee, the force behind the movement to make #Juneteenth a national holiday. Also known as Freedom Day, it is the day that commemorates when slavery officially ended in the USA.
At 93, Mrs. Lee keeps banging the drum for the recognition of this day. Public holidays signal the moments in history that are important to a nation's identity and the values they hold dear. Recognizing Juneteenth nationally would be one more way of acknowledging the intrinsic value of Black people and their history to the wealth and prosperity of the USA.
We are aware that oversight of these historical events blinds and misleads both our present and our future generations. It encourages willful ignorance and the touting of revisionist history. So let's join Mrs. Lee in her pursuit to face America's history head-on by signing her petition to make Juneteenth a national holiday at the link in my bio."
Katie Couric: "Today is Juneteenth—an important, historic day. On this day, in 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, and read the announcement that all enslaved African-Americans were free, sharing the news about two months after the South surrendered in the Civil War and over two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Black Texans began celebrating the holiday in 1866, though in recent decades it has gained prominence around the country, and is widely considered African-Americans' Independence Day."
Sarah Hyland: "If you don't know what #juneteenth is, google it. #makejuneteenthanationalholiday."
Iman: "America's celebration of independence means very little to Black folks. In the words of Frederick Douglass, "What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim." Here's why Juneteenth has become such an important holiday in our lives."
Diplo: "155 years ago. not that long ago honestly. we need June 19th as a national day of education. we as white people need to realize we're not post race. we need to learn how to love and celebrate our differences instead of pretending they dont exist. we need to listen. we need to show up for one another. i encourage anyone who hasnt to go to a protest. theres a oneness and a connection there that makes me believe we can genuinely change the world."
Gabrielle Union: "#Juneteenth Claim your freedom, your equality, your fight, your love, your joy, your rage. Keep fighting!! Arrest the killers of #BreonnaTaylor !!!!!!!!"
Russell Wilson: "Juneteenth. The ending of slavery. A day to celebrate freedom. A time to educate and celebrate Black Culture. #Juneteenth."
Viola Davis: "#HappyJuneteenth I'll tell you what this "Juneteenth", "Liberation", "Freedom" Day means to me. It means to truly and actually be set free from imprisonment and oppression in ALL aspects of this country. To break the micro and macroagressions of mindsets, ignorance, apathy, policies, and political ideologies steeped in systemic racism. So....this day is a "Woke" marker...But...if there is anything to celebrate it's my ancestors, African Americans who survived the atrocity and stain of slavery. They survived with grace, love and strength. I honor them today with a promise that I will continue to fight for your unexplored dreams and hopes...I will fight for your God given right to live as a human being. In the name of #BreonnaTaylor, #SandraBland, #GeorgeFloyd, #RayshardBrooks, #EmmettTill, #MedgerEvers...and MILLIONS MORE.....AMEN!!!!!"
Chadwick Boseman: "Knowledge has always been power, but on June 19, 1865, over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, knowledge finally brought delayed freedom to the slaves in Texas. Taking us closer to the ratification of 13th amendment in December 1865. Understanding our history is one of many ways to break the cycle of racial injustice in this country. Lift up and amplify Black voices. Support Black owned businesses. Reach back and mentor. Take action through causes and organizations like @blklivesmatter @naacp @campaignzero @bailproject @whenweallvote and @colorofchange.
155 years later, let's all try to learn from our past so we can create a better future together. Not just today. Everyday.
Kris Jenner: "Today we commemorate Juneteenth, a day to celebrate freedom and to acknowledge that there is still a long way to go in the fight for justice and equality. I hope that the attention we can all help bring to a day that has been celebrated for so many years in the black community, and one that is so important in our country's history, will help us move forward in the direction of recognition and change. #JuneTeenth"
Monique Samuels: "Imagine being free and no one told you for 2 years! Black American Slaves were emancipated in 1863 but it wasn't until June 19, 1865 that those in Texas realized it. Juneteenth originated in Galveston, TX in 1865 when the remaining slaves in the confederacy were made aware of their freedom! Happy Freedom Day! Please feel free to post and share additional facts below #juneteenth."
Lady Gaga: "Taking the day to reflect on Juneteenth in the spirit of celebrating and making more progress. Sending my love to the Black community today as we rest upon an anniversary that is both significant and heartbreaking. We have to do more. There must be more change."