For Immediate Release
April 26, 2021
Contact Information

Suzanne Vargus Holloman, Co-Director


Spend it with family and friends at a reunion.

(Black PR Wire) Philadelphia, PA - The Family Reunion Institute (FRI) is encouraging families to celebrate the 2021 Juneteenth holiday in a new way. And to start planning it now. Juneteenth is a celebration of history, hope, endurance, growth and family. It is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States and providing freedom to the enslaved. It is officially celebrated on June 19th.

Juneteenth 1865 is the day that a Union Army General arrived in Texas to let the enslaved know that slavery had been abolished—30 months after Lincoln's proclamation. Today’s technology would have made that announcement almost instantaneous. “However, we’re still lagging far behind the equal opportunity our ancestors hoped their newfound freedom would bring. And we’re still contending with injustice, killings, systemic racism, incarceration, unfair treatment, separation—all because of the color of our skin,” says Sylvia Ford-George, Associate Director of FRI.

Dr. Ione Vargus, founder of FRI, Dean Emerita of the Temple University School of Social Work, and recipient of the title ‘Mother of Family Reunions,’ proposes that Juneteenth become similar to Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day where families and friends traditionally gather. She cautions that these events should not be limited to fun, food and parades. “They should include oral histories and readings. They provide a chance to explore the history, legacy of ancestors, and hope for a better tomorrow within Black culture. Black Lives Matter must become more than a slogan. Black History month must no longer be confined to 28 days. Family, neighbors and friends can be led to understand why learning about our history is as important to our future, as it is to our today.”

Dr. Vargus relays, “The Family Reunion Institute has for years proposed that family reunions become more than just picnics. A Juneteenth celebration or reunion provides ample opportunity to do just that.”