What is Juneteenth?

What is Juneteenth?

June 17, 2020 Written by Celina Jauregui

As we approach Juneteenth, it’s important to understand the history of our nation. That’s why it is important to acknowledge and honor Juneteenth as a holiday!

Here are bits of history, tips, and information on what Juneteenth is all about!

We want to support companies, brands, and individuals that are contributing and giving back to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and also recognize the history of the movement, and why there is a need to recognize this day as one of history and celebration. 

What is Juneteenth? 

Juneteenth commemorates the day the news of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil War’s end had reached the last group of enslaved people in America. On January 1, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which declared, “All persons held as slaves... shall be then henceforward, and forever free.”

This announcement was the first significant step towards abolishing slavery. However, although the proclamation was made, many states resisted. It wasn’t until June 19, 1865, over two years later, that Texas, the last location holding out, was finally enlightened.

This was massive at the time! Black slaves were not taught to read or write; and aside from word of mouth there was extremely limited access to news like this amongst those in captive conditions. The year immediately following this declaration, Juneteenth was celebrated across Texas, however it wasn’t recognized as an official state holiday until 1980.

Why is it important?

Juneteenth is significant because it represents a historical step forward in civil rights, although it was only the beginning.

It just got the conversation going.

This historical day is crucial because although the policy abandoning slavery was signed in 1863, this landmark holiday was only the beginning of the final steps to the abolishment of slavery.  Systematic oppression against Black people and people of color (POC) has deep roots in history, and this significant point of progress is fundamental to the movement.

What is the history of Juneteenth?

The name of it stems from a mix of the words “June” and “nineteenth,” the month and day that the announcement was made in Texas. Oftentimes people will compare the holiday to the 4th of July because both are celebratory of freedom, it is also sometimes referred to as Freedom Day, Park Day, Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day, and Cel-Liberation Day.

How do people celebrate Juneteenth?

There are many ways to celebrate Juneteenth, while some people barbecue, hold family or community reunions, others may use the day to honor music, arts, and storytelling from the past. There are many different ways the holiday has been celebrated and generally it comes down to family traditions.

Right now it’s recognized as a state or ceremonial holiday in a number of different places but has yet to be declared a national holiday.

What can I do to honor and support Juneteenth?

An important part of honoring history would be to continue listening, learning, and spreading the words to others. For many, honoring this day could simply be to keep the conversation going. One important thing to get involved with or to continue doing is to get into activism! 

We also support shopping Black businesses like one of our favorite partner's - Ardent

 resources to contribute for blm

Here are some ways of getting the foot in the door and getting the conversation going. Follow Follow activist/ informative accounts focused on and led by Black people or people of color.

resources to contribute to blm

Another way to contribute toward progress is to support Black Owned Business, this list includes a few of those just within the industry. Look at @mezzlife’s instagram account for the original post, along with an extended list in the comments!

Other ways to get involved is to stay educated by reading books, listening to podcasts, staying updated with the news, sharing important information, and getting involved with community / local movements.

One thing we can all work to do is to do our best in spreading knowledge, awareness, wealth, and continue to be allies through these uncertain times.

DHC wants to know what your plans are, comment down below on how you’ve celebrated Juneteenth before or how you plan to honor it this year!