On June 19th, 1865 the Union soldiers, led by General Granger, landed in Galveston, TX with the news that the war has ended and that slaves were free, but this was 2.5 years after the Emancipation Proclamation put into place by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863.
The reactions of the news ranged from pure shock to jubilation, that FINALLY all that had been enslaved were “free.”Juneteenth celebration is a time for reassuring each other, praying and for gathering remaining family members, as the free slaves did when they arrived to Texas.
This holiday is so important because Black families have a long history of being separated. From the transatlantic slave trade, to the separation of enslaved Black Americans from their family, to the disproportionate number of Black men and women who are incarcerated, the Black family and community has constantly been under attack, but family and community are the foundation and cornerstone of the Black experience.
Slaves were never stolen from Africa: people with families and careers were.
Toure Roberts on his most recent instagram post talked about the Biblical implications of Juneteenth for believers. He said the politicizing of Juneteenth as a national holiday was the beginning mark to Black liberation in America, and that hit me hard. Because, even though I was both excited and disappointed (discouraged because there are so many things Black people are waiting for like: appropriate protection of our communities, reparations, equal pay, voter protection rights), there are so many people who have come before me who have prayed for decades for this moment.
He went on to say that that we can see parallels between the Egypt and modern day America, and leaders such as Moses, compared to Harriett Tubman using their voices to soften a leaders heart, a nations heart. Reckoning for America has come, and I couldn't be more pleased with the way people are working to understand and re-write history.
Juneteenth has long-time been a celebration for Black people, so it might feel strange being newly introduced to the holiday to know what to do, so below, a few suggestions on how to celebrate on this *NEWLY appointed* federal holiday?
Here are some simple ways that you can join in:
Reach out to a Black friend and let them know how happy you are to celebrate
Volunteer or donate to a local organization or non-profit that works to elevate or provide opportunities to the Black community
Spend some time in research on Black history + this specific holiday
Watch a movie about abolitionist and Reconstruction of America
find a cookout and eat
Pay reparations. Sow into or gift a Black family, business, person with no labor in mind for exchange. DM for cash app or Venmo if you’re feeling generous LOL
Over pay for a Black persons services - tip high, show love and appreciation for what Black America has brought to the table and to the culture
Most importantly, as we see this holiday grow and change over the years to come, do your part to take a back seat, listen, lean in and observe and learn. Don't allow a beautiful holiday to become common and commercialized. Buy Black Always on days like this. From Black authors, creatives and makers and LET US continue to lead the way on issues and traditions that concern us.
How do you plan to join me in celebrating today? Let me know in the comments.
Juneteenth is here, now and forever!
(so let's continue learning and unlearning together, for you and I, but especially for those to come)
With wisdom and courage, for His glory,
Products pictured below:
Ike, Courage and Glory’s shirts - Black Vibe Tribe
Tash’s shirt - Busboys & Poets
Wisdom’s shirt - #blackbeyondmeasure for Target