June 19, 2024

Celebrating Juneteenth as a federal holiday shows progress, but Black people still face unequal criminal treatment

The sixth annual Indy Juneteenth Festival took place at Military Park in downtown Indianapolis in June 2023. - Sydney Dauphinais/WFYI News

The sixth annual Indy Juneteenth Festival took place at Military Park in downtown Indianapolis in June 2023.

Sydney Dauphinais/WFYI News

The 159th anniversary of Juneteenth celebrates when slaves in Galveston, Texas found out they were free — two years after slaves in the north. Despite this freedom, many Black people still endure unequal treatment and experience more hate crimes in Indiana and across the country.

The FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program tracks data related to hate crimes, property crimes and homicides. 

A recent report shows that most hate crimes are related to race. That’s compared to other categories like religion, sexual orientation or disability. In Indiana, 67 percent of hate crimes were motivated by race — more than the national average of 59 percent. 

Additionally, most Indiana hate crimes are committed by White people and take place at someone's home. 

Community members can honor the Juneteenth holiday by learning more about Black culture and supporting Black businesses.

Contact WFYI health reporter Elizabeth Gabriel at egabriel@wfyi.org.

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