What is Juneteenth?

by Christine Sine

by Lisa DeRosa

Tomorrow, June 19th, is Juneteenth, a celebration of the true freedom of slaves in the US. This year, we celebrate 155 years since June 19, 1865. Instead of me trying to convey what this celebration is and means, I want to point you to resources so you can discover for yourself. In this time, we must be listeners and learners. I hope these resources help you discover something new that you may not have known before as they have done for me.

Websites for the History

Junteenth.com shares the extensive history behind this day of celebration including the historical and cultural reasons for why freedom took so long after the Emancipation Proclamation.

This New York Times article from Monday includes the relevancy of our current Black Lives Matter movement in the context of this holiday.

Also, check our History.com for their take on Juneteenth and more information.

An article unrelated to Juneteenth, but just a lovely interview with Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple by YES! Magazine.


How to Celebrate!

Juneteenth.com provides a diverse array of ways to celebrate at work, in your community, and at home. Based on where you are and what phase of reopening you are in, there are ideas for all! Consider a Zoom gathering with friends and family where you can talk about issues of slavery and race. Put up a sign in your neighborhood to raise awareness! I plan to make a special meal with my husband that includes biscuits with cheddar and green onions (from the garden) while we discuss how to respond with compassion to the Black Lives Matter movement from our privilege as a middle class white couple.

If you have celebrated Juneteenth before, what are some ways you have celebrated? Or is this your first year celebrating Juneteenth like me? Wherever you are in the awareness of this holiday, let’s not let it go by like any other Friday. Let’s choose to not only educate and understand, but celebrate together the freedom of African Americans from slavery in the US.

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