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Celebrating Juneteenth

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

Red-yellow-green flag with a drawing of a woman with a large afro captioned "Juneteenth is my independence day"

This Saturday, we’re celebrating a memorable holiday for people of colour: Juneteenth. If you’ve never heard of this holiday, it’s best marked as the day slavery ended in the U.S. on June 19th, 1865.

Ever since that day, our ancestors have spent time celebrating the achievement and solidifying their freedom. For the newer generation of people of colour, though, those celebrations began to die down as other holidays took their place.

It’s time to get back to celebrating our history starting today! As we continue to educate ourselves on the importance and impact of where we came from, it’s crucial also to address how we celebrate the holiday as a whole. Is there a specific way to celebrate, or can we begin our customs and traditions to honor our ancestors’ freedom?

I know that it can be confusing to celebrate a holiday you are still learning about every day. Therefore, here are three different ways to celebrate Juneteenth this upcoming Saturday.

Educate Yourself And Others

Many of us, including myself, never knew about Juneteenth until relatively recently, in 2020. If most of you remember from last year, Juneteenth gained recognition among people of colour after protests began due to the unjust deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

Education is one of our most powerful tools to use as people of colour. Our systems are continuously failing us by not teaching our history the right way. This action is causing black communities worldwide to become unaware of their history and the power of their voices.

If we can’t seek the truth within our education and professional systems, we must seek it ourselves! If you’re looking for some great resources to learn about this significant holiday, here are some valuable resources to look at today:

Get Together With Friends/Family + Party!

Today, most people of colour believe that Juneteenth has to be celebrated in a specific fashion. This, however, is not the case as there isn’t an official way to celebrate the holiday. We have free range to observe how we please - a strong signifier of our freedom today.

Creativity for people of colour showed no boundaries during celebrations after the official end of slavery. In fact, in 1872, a group of freed people of colour put together about $800 to buy acres of land to celebrate the date.

Now, we have free will to celebrate the holiday in the comforts of our homes and much more! It doesn’t hurt to plan a get-together with the people you love to celebrate, especially now that we have that ability.

Make History For Yourself

Juneteenth is a powerful holiday that proves that people of colour are more substantial and worthy of making names for themselves. Why not do that for yourself starting today?

Just yesterday, on June 15th, 2021, significant history had been made in the U.S. to bring more awareness to this meaningful holiday. The Senate passed a bill making Juneteenth a national holiday, which is a big deal.

You need to ask yourself today, though, what efforts can you take to make history for Juneteenth today? Some simple actions you can take include:

  • Keeping the younger generations up to date on Juneteenth and why it’s worth celebrating.

  • Fighting threats to people of colour where you live in person or online.

  • Giving back to the community to make it better for those living there.

  • Supporting black-owned establishments.

It’s about time for people of colour to return to their roots. Juneteenth is the perfect opportunity to begin that return and start a new tradition you can pass onto others in the future. Don’t be ashamed to embrace your history and keep it alive, even when others try to suppress your voice.

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