Defining Your Legacy: Honoring Juneteenth

Wednesday, June 19 is Juneteenth, and JCPenney is honoring those who fought for freedom and unity while celebrating the achievements and contributions of Black Americans through its third annual Hope & Wonder Juneteenth collection benefitting Unity Unlimited, Inc. For the fourth year in a row, JCPenney associates will march alongside Dr. Opal Lee as a national sponsor of Opal’s Walk for Freedom, presented by Unity Unlimited, Inc.

Bringing the Collection to Life with the Creative Coalition

This year’s collection theme is ‘Celebration of Freedom,’ which served as inspiration for the designs developed by JCPenney’s Creative Coalition, a cross-functional team of Black, Indigenous and/or People of Color (BIPOC) designers who bring their authentic experience to inspire each Hope & Wonder collection. These designers identify as members of the Black community and are featured in the photoshoot for the collection alongside members of the Mosaic business resource team (BRT), an internal group dedicated to engaging and empowering JCPenney’s Black community and its allies, including Chief Human Resources Officer Andre Joyner.

“We were inspired by the history of ancestors and the steadfast work and advocacy of Dr. Opal Lee,” said Krystal, a JCPenney senior designer and member of the Creative Coalition. “As members of the Black community, we have worked tirelessly to ensure it is a positive reflection of Juneteenth and what it means to the culture.”

In planning the collection, the JCPenney Creative Coalition sought to honor the Black community through the lived experiences of JCPenney associates and pioneer Dr. Opal Lee. For this year’s celebration of freedom, the Creative Coalition designed pieces combining African flag colors, the spirit of summer cookouts and the triumph of the plight of Black people in the U.S. This is JCPenney’s largest Juneteenth collection yet, featuring dresses, shorts, tees and accessories to create family matching moments for June 19 and beyond.

Supporting Unity Unlimited, Inc.

100% of net profits from the Hope & Wonder Juneteenth collection will go to Unity Unlimited, Inc., the sponsor of Opal’s Walk for Freedom in honor of Juneteenth National Independence Day. Unity Unlimited, Inc., founded by Opal’s granddaughter Dione Sims, is a non-profit organization whose main mission is to provide educational activities and resources to people of all ages to foster unity and harmony within their communities regardless of race, culture or denomination.

Juneteenth commemorates the official end of slavery in the United States. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was officially issued on January 1, 1863, it took two and a half years for the news to reach parts of the country. Union Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, at last bringing the news of freedom to all enslaved people in the U.S. The first Juneteenth celebration was in 1866, and although the day has been observed as a second Independence Day amongst Black Americans ever since, it was only recognized as a federal holiday in 2021 thanks to the efforts of Dr. Opal Lee.

Opal’s Walk for Freedom began in 2016 as an initiative led by Dr. Lee to bring attention to the campaign for Juneteenth to be named a federally recognized national holiday. With support from thousands of marchers across the country, Dr. Lee’s dream became a reality when President Joe Biden invited her to the White House in 2021 to make it official. The annual 2.5-mile walk, in honor of the 2.5 years it took for the news of freedom to reach the enslaved people in Texas, continues to raise awareness and education for the significance of the holiday. Dallas-Fort Worth-based JCPenney associates will march alongside Dr. Lee in person on June 19, and associates across the country will join virtually while conducting their own 2.5-mile walks.

Dr. Lee was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Biden and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Congress in 2022. She was also honored by Southern Methodist University with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree in May 2024.

Support Unity Unlimited, Inc. by shopping the new Hope & Wonder Juneteenth collection available in stores and online at

About Hope & Wonder

Hope & Wonder is JCPenney’s private label brand for everyone in the family designed to commemorate moments that matter. Hope & Wonder celebrates cultural observances throughout the year: Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Pride Month, Juneteenth, and Hispanic Heritage Month.

In addition to corporate contributions, all net profits from Hope & Wonder sales are donated to nonprofits selected by JCPenney associates. Since Hope & Wonder launched in 2022, JCPenney has invested over $1,000,000 in Hope & Wonder partnerships as part of our ongoing commitment to celebrating diversity.

Hope & Wonder brand campaigns include JCPenney associates, community leaders, and members of the JCPenney Creative Coalition – the passionate, cross-functional team of diverse designers who create each Hope & Wonder collection.

For more information on Hope & Wonder, please visit our media resource microsite here.

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