The month of June is the perfect time to celebrate what makes us us - with Juneteenth celebrated in this month, people are more cognizant than ever about culture and history. Let’s take a deeper dive into Juneteenth’s past and present.
Juneteenth celebrates June 19th, (hence June + nineteenth) 1865, the day when troops were finally able to let enslaved Black people in Texas know they had been legally freed after Robert E. Lee surrendered in April of that year. 1865, by the way, was an entire two years after the Emancipation Proclamation promised freedom to Black individuals living in Confederate territories which were largely on the East Coast. Despite the events on the original Juneteenth, many individuals were still enslaved in and outside of Texas until the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment which legally abolished slavery for all United States territories.
Though Juneteenth officially became a federal holiday recently in 2021, Black individuals and allies alike have celebrated Juneteenth since 1865 as a promise for change. Today, we honor Juneteenth in a similar way: a continued fight for equal rights, a recognition of Black excellence, and a chance to uplift Black voices. Check out just some of the ways we can honor Juneteenth today:
Support Black Creators + Culture
The month of June is filled with events celebrating Black creators, artists, and culture. Doing a quick Google search on “Juneteenth events near me” brings up vendor fairs, shows, storytelling or poetry events, and more. If you’re in an area that doesn’t have as many Juneteenth events, you can always check out online opportunities here.
Outside of the month of June, it’s important to follow Black creators on social media platforms. Buying art, books, or other media from Black creators is another way to thank them for sharing culture and insight with others, especially if you aren’t BIPOC yourself.
Continuing Advocacy Efforts
Since the first Juneteenth was a celebration of the movement towards equal rights, it’s only fitting that we continue celebration through advocacy! There’s still a long way to go for Black equality, including equal rights regarding education, banking trends like loans and credit, housing district practices, and treatment by people in positions of power like police. The fight for equal treatment didn’t begin with Juneteenth or end with it, either.
Uplifting Black Voices
As with every social movement, centering and uplifting the voices of those impacted most is vital. Unfortunately, when majority voices overtake marginalized voices, we sometimes lose the truths of those we should be focusing on. In June and in every month, uplifting Black voices in every conversation - but particularly those focused on Black culture and treatment - is important in ensuring nobody is left out of the conversation and we are taking guidance from those with lived experience.
One of the ways a non-BIPOC person can uplift Black voices is to work through your own biases. If you feel like your opinion has to be heard in conversations outside of your community, it may be time to work with a therapist to reveal any unconscious biases you may have. As a BIPOC person in the conversation, talking with a therapist to resolve any identity issues spawning from societal messaging could be helpful as well.
We hope this blog taught you about the origins of Juneteenth as well as inspired some celebration in you today! If you want to talk about identity as a BIPOC person or allyship as a non-BIPOC person, our office is open. Reach out today to schedule a session with us. We look forward to hearing from you!
Higher Life Pathways Counseling Services
1800 Diagonal Road, Suite 600 Alexandria, VA 22314
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (571) 946-8115