What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth, also known as Jubilee Day or Freedom Day, is a day of celebration equivalent to the 4th of July.
The Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1st, 1863, declaring all enslaved people being held were now free. However, it took two years for that information to reach the folks in Galveston, TX.
There were several stories about how that all came about.
They said the messenger was killed on the way, or he didn't get there in time.
Another part of the story was that the owners wanted to keep the enslaved a bit longer and get the next planning season out of the way, then let him go.
We don't know which version is true; nevertheless, it was a celebratory time for Black people in America.
On June 19th, 1865, everyone on American soil were free. Juneteenth was made a U.S. Federal Holiday on June 17th, 2021.
How to Celebrate Juneteenth
My mother grew up with Juneteenth, referred to as Jubilee Day. As kids, they celebrated by playing in the sprinklers and drinking strawberry soda.
Celebrating Juneteenth is similar to celebrating the 4th of July. Gathering with food, fun, stories, laughter, and whatever brings you together.
Does Juneteenth Conflict with the 4th of July?
Some view the 4th of July 1776 as a day that not everyone on American soil had their freedom and independence.
For others, both can be equally celebrated and don't conflict or negate the other.
I'm all about the unity within our humanity, and this is another addition to the culture that connects us. It's not us vs. them, as each culture carries a rich story and history.
Juneteenth is directly tied to Black culture and how it has been a foundational influence on the history and culture of America.
Can I celebrate Juneteenth if I'm not Black?
Yes. As an anthropologist, learning, understanding, and participating in cultures, religions, and tribes is one of my greatest joys. I encourage you to learn and understand Juneteenth and find your connection to the celebration.
It can be as simple as saying Happy Juneteenth on June 19th to anyone you meet.
If you are looking for more ways to celebrate, I've included a few below.
Ways to Celebrate Juneteenth
Note that there is a difference between honoring, recognizing, and celebrating. These distinctions can help with how to celebrate Juneteenth.
Wish people a Happy Juneteenth. If they don't know what Juneteenth is, you can use the bits above in this article to share more.
Watch the Netflix High on the Hog Freedom episode. It captures so much of the celebration of Juneteenth and more. Host a watch party and host a discussion after.
Eat some good food. High on the Hog can inspire some meals, or you can check out Jurrell Guy's cookbook: Black Girl Baking. She is featured in the Freedom episode and has some amazing Juneteenth-inspired recipes.
Give gratitude for Freedom. To be free is a beautiful thing. Spend 3 minutes in a heart space of gratitude for your freedom.
Join a Juneteenth or Jubilee Parade or event. See if there is something local in your area. If you are in Galveston, TX, know they have you covered.
I have hosted a few Juneteenth-inspired events for companies. The best part is always the education and conversation - the more you know, the more you grow. Embracing cultures that might differ from yours or diving deeper into your own culture creates something that I sense is missing. Connection.
We are all connected in this life, and the more we explore and celebrate others, we also celebrate and explore ourselves.
For Juneteenth, you can find me wishing folks a Happy Juneteenth, shutting down the laptop, sipping strawberry lemonade, and enjoying a local Juneteenth festival.
🔆❤️🖖🏾 - Happy Juneteenth,
P.s For more about Juneteenth, check out this article.