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By Cam Sivesind
Wed | Jun 19, 2024 | 1:39 PM PDT

On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that the Civil War had ended and that all enslaved people were now free—more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. This momentous occasion is celebrated as Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

Juneteenth is a day to reflect on the immense struggle and perseverance of those who endured the inhumane institution of slavery. It reminds us of how far we've come in upholding the ideals of liberty and justice for all. And yet, it also underscores how much further we still have to go to achieve true equality and protect the freedoms that were so hard won.

Just as the formerly enslaved had to fight for their emancipation, we must remain ever vigilant against threats to our modern day freedoms and security. Cybersecurity is one critical domain where this battle rages on. Bad actors attempt to compromise systems, steal data, and infringe on our digital rights and privacy.

Those in the cybersecurity field work tirelessly to defend against these threats and ensure that we can operate online safely and freely—whether for business, education, communication, or personal pursuits. Just as the abolitionists recognized slavery as an unconscionable violation of human rights, we must view cyberattacks as attacks on our digital rights and freedoms that cannot be tolerated.

Frankly, it's why SecureWorld exists. For the past 23 years, we have been delivering on our mission of "connecting, informing, and developing leaders in cybersecurity" through in-person regional events and interactive online platforms.

On Juneteenth, we celebrate how far we've come, but also renew our commitment to the ongoing fight for freedom and security in all aspects of life—including the digital realm. The principles of liberty, justice, and protection from harm that were so central to ending slavery must continue guiding us as we work to maintain our cyber liberties.

So let us honor the historic significance of Juneteenth, while also channeling its spirit to inspire our efforts in securing the latest frontiers of freedom—our digital future. The struggle may look different, but the cause remains as essential as ever.

Here are some powerful quotes from historical figures about the importance and significance of Juneteenth:

  • "The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves." — General Order No. 3, read by Union General Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, announcing the end of slavery in Texas
  • "Juneteenth marks the end of the piteous odyssey of slavery's survivors in Texas and the dispossession and impoverishment of the Native Americans. We celebrate it because despite the tremendous odds against both groups, we kept the dream of freedom alive for our children and grandchildren." — Al Edwards, one of the founders of Juneteenth celebrations in Texas
  • "Juneteenth has never been a celebration of victory or an acceptance of the way things are. Instead, it's a celebration of progress. It's an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible—and there is still so much work to do." — Former President Barack Obama
  • "The historical legacy of Juneteenth shows that in America, even when the legal barriers have fallen, we still have to keep pushing to make the constitutional ideals of liberty, equality, justice and dignity a reality for all." — Senator Cory Booker
  • "The celebration of Juneteenth is a remembrance that freedom had a birth in this land, that it emerged from the scorched, clotted earth of hatred and thrived because of loyalty to the warm crest of hope."
    — Rev. Dr. Yvette Richards Moore

These quotes capture how Juneteenth represents the long, hard struggle for freedom and equality in America, while also serving as an inspiration to continue striving to fully realize those ideals.