Today is such an important day, not only historically but for the United States’ collective consciousness. There can be no racial reckoning without recognition. And, yet, many do not know about Juneteenth.
Here’s a brief history:
Juneteenth originated in Galveston, Texas in 1865 and has become a day for celebrating African American freedom and resilience. In cities across the United States, people of all races have the opportunity to reflect on the words of the Emancipation Proclamation which promised previously enslaved Americans not only freedom but equality.
As was made abundantly evident last summer and as we have been seeing since the inception of the American nation, there is still a long way to go before BIPOC can enjoy the same privileges as our white counterparts. Not all Americans are afforded the same freedoms. Some people, based solely on the color of their skin, are not afforded basic human rights and dignities.
The recognition of the dignity of all people is a necessary precursor to achieving a collective sense of freedom. How will you celebrate Juneteenth? How will you work to create a freer America for those whose ancestors were enslaved?
There are a multitude of possible answers. Only one is wrong: doing nothing.
If you’re a Person of Color, we hope you’ll celebrate your ancestors’ resilience while finding joy in who you are – today and always!
If you’re an ally to the Black community, some possibilities include: educating yourself and other (white) people about the enduring impacts of racism, sharing the Demystifying Diversity Podcast as a resource, or posting your support on social media. If you have a platform, use it to spread the message that the residual impacts of slavery are still being felt. Take action in the direction of allyship and love.