Since the summer is finally here, I decided to take some time to acknowledge an historic event for the culture.
Last summer in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in May 2020 many protesters were politically awakened to the magnitude of racist police violence in America during the wave of Black Lives Matter protests a year ago.
Now a year later as I reflect on that time as a pivotal moment in our history, I believe there is still more work to be done and we must acknowledge where we have been to know where we are going.
Make no mistake about it I do not believe it is our job as African Americans to teach what should already be in our history books. However, I do think that we as African Americans have a responsibility to stay educated within our own communities and beyond so that we may never forget our roots.
So in this post, I will be dropping some education about what Juneteenth means to me and what you can do to get involved this month.
What Is Juneteenth?
While most American History classes teach us that the Emancipation Proclamation that took effect in 1863 declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free" that did not apply to all who were enslaved.
For African Americans living in Confederate territory in the westernmost Confederate state of Texas, freedom did not come until nearly two years later on June 19, 1865.
According to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Juneteenth is a celebration that takes place annually on June 19th to commemorate the day when some 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas to free slaves.
“The army announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state, were free by executive decree. This day came to be known as Juneteenth," by the newly freed people in Texas.”
For this reason African Americans celebrate Juneteenth or Freedom/Emancipation Day to recognize the liberation of those who were still enslaved.
How To Celebrate Juneteenth As An Allie?
In terms of reparations which I believe is the only path toward true racial equity in the United States of America we still have a long way to go.
I've gotten asked this question before so I just want to clarify that there really is no one single way you can celebrate Juneteenth.
Even if you are not an African American, as allies you can support us during this time by:
Buying Black-owned products and supporting Black-owned business
Listening to Black artists (Music & Podcast)
Reading Literature from Black authors and poets
Watching Black TV shows and movies
You can also download my "Beginners Guide To Self-Care" by visiting the shop section on my website.
Another app that I recently heard about and downloaded called "Miiriya" allows you to shop for all your Black Owned Business essentials in one place!
The word Miirya orginates from the African language meaning "thoughts" and "ideas."
This app has it all from fashion, beauty, hair, art and home décor.
I believe it is so important to support Black businesses and artist who are musicians, poets, writers, photographers, filmmakers and so much more.
If you don't have a lot of money to spare no worries, if you have a Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime account you can start streaming Black TV shows and movies today!
Looking at the list above, my personal favorite Black TV shows include All American, Blood & Water, Twenties, The Chi, Dear White People, Grown-ish, and Insecure to name a few.
I also recommend watching historical Black films such as:
If Beale Street Could Talk
12 Years A Slave
Coming To America
One Night In Miami
You can also watch Black Short Films by good friend Denise Gordon using this YouTube link.
I also recommend this motivational book for your siblings, students, and children “Destined For Greatness” by Tameka Harris which is available on Amazon.
What Am I Looking Forward To?
In the past, I have attended my share of backyard cookouts and hope I can host my own one day for this occasion.
But this year I am looking forward to visiting an exhibit and entertainment at a Museum dedicated to Black culture.
You can check out local events in your area using Eventbrite or find an event in your neighborhood.
Let me know how you celebrate Juneteenth by tagging @edu_catedblackqueen. Happy Juneteenth!
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