Juneteenth is a day of remembrance, celebration, and education. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made in America as well as the beginning of a long journey of growth and learning.
If this is your first-time celebrating Juneteenth, it's essential to understand the significance of this holiday. In this blog post, we will explore the origins of Juneteenth, learn more about how you can get involved to support its cause, as well as links to resources where you can find out more information.
Starting this year, we’re making Juneteenth an official holiday at Lyft. It’s one step in our ongoing journey toward racial equality at Lyft, and in this country.— Lyft (@lyft) June 13, 2020
So, what’s Juneteenth? ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/DZjLbD8RBR
What Is Juneteenth?
Every July 4th, Americans celebrate the day when the United States was declared free. However, back in 1776, not every American was free on that day. In fact, black people were enslaved for 87 more years and wouldn't actually be free until the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Lincoln.
However, even with that signed, it took two whole years for the news to reach all of the United States. Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19th every year because that marked the day that the most remote slaves in Texas in 1865 were finally read the proclamation and were set free.
What Does Juneteenth Look Like Today?
Today, Juneteenth is celebrated to commemorate the end of slavery. However, the fight for justice and equity for Black Americans continues today, which is why it's so important that leaders and companies around the country have started to recognize it as an important date in U.S. history.
On June 17th of 2021, President Joe Biden officially signed the legislation into law, establishing June 19th as Juneteenth National Independence day. Juneteenth is the first national holiday passed since 1983 when President Ronald Reagan added Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a federal holiday.
How To Celebrate and Support Juneteenth
Juneteenth is a great day to celebrate the history of slavery and its abolition. It’s also a good time for companies, organizations, and communities to take action in support of racial justice initiatives that are often overlooked or underfunded. Juneteenth isn't just about celebrating freedom from oppression; it's about continuing the fight against racism today. Here are four ways you can make an impact and support your community this Juneteenth.
- Educate Yourself And Your Community
It all starts with education! By learning more about the holiday and sharing with your friends or social media platforms, you can help spread awareness of these essential social justices. Not sure where to start? Here are a few resources:
- What Is Juneteenth? by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
- The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth by the Smithsonian National Museum of African History & Culture
- Teaching Tolerance: A Guide to Teaching Juneteenth by Southern Law Poverty Center
- What Is Juneteenth? by Melina Abdullah BLM
- Support Black-Owned Businesses
One of the best ways to show support on Juneteenth is to support black-owned businesses. While many companies, like our black-owned soap business, will be closed for Juneteenth, you can still show support by heading to their place of business when they're open or ordering online for future delivery.
If you're unsure how to figure out which businesses to support, start in your local community! You can also find tons of places to support through the following black-owned small business directories:
- Black Business Green Book
- Shop Black Owned
- Support Black Owned
- Official Black Wall Street
- Donate To Charities and Organizations
Using Juneteenth as a way to give back is a great way to support the Black community. There are tons of non-platforms you can consider donating to, such as The Loveland Foundation, NAACP, or The Bail Project are great places to start. Along with donations, you can support by signing petitions or volunteering with these organizations and sharing these important causes with those around you.
- Use This as An Opportunity To Listen And Celebrate
There are street fairs, rodeos, and events around the country to celebrate Juneteenth. There are tons of ways to join the festivities, you just need to find them! Start by researching your local area to see what your community has planned. Showing up and supporting local community events and listening to those around you is a great way to show up and show your support.
Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom, and that’s what it needs to remain. It’s not just about the end of slavery for African Americans but also an opportunity to celebrate life as we know it today. Juneteenth doesn't have one story or history because each black person in America has their own experience with this day and what it means to them.
At Soaplife360, we're a black-owned business that cares about bringing awareness to the important conversations around diversity and inclusion. We hope these resources help you to celebrate Juneteenth!