We enjoy our BBQ and eat watermelon.
We drink our strawberry soda.
We reflect over our ancestors and what all they went through. We celebrate how far we have come.
We wish and hope, just like our ancestors, that it will get better for us. We pray for swift and steady change to be seen as equal.
This is a day I am proud of. Juneteenth.
It actually feels good to talk about about something positive for African Americans after reading all the blogs and posts about black lives not mattering. I'm weary of crime stories and statistics that want to show black people are less than.
I recently posted on my personal social media and asked my friends "what did Juneteenth mean to them?" While I was not shocked that only about 10 people commented and of those only 4 were women of color, I was surprised at how many more admitted they didn't know anything about this holiday. Here's what some of my friends reflected:
"Juneteenth for me is the celebration of my people and our Freedom day. This day was the day we realized who we are ... a great people!"
"Juneteenth is the Emancipation of the last remaining slaves in the confederacy. This is the day my black friends and family's ancestors were told they were free. They may have been free from servitude, but they weren't free from inequality, bias, and discrimination. I long for the day we can celebrate the end of THAT."
"We celebrate Juneteenth as a family every year because it's the annual reminder of how far we have come and also where we once were. As an African American household of 6, private schools, living the American dream, we feel it's dangerous to raise our babies in a bubble of our current reality without making them aware of the danger and reality that exists just outside that bubble. So Juneteenth is a day of celebration. A day of conversation. A day of intentional awareness, more so for our children."
So! Juneteenth has rightly been named an important part of African American culture, but it truly should be a day for every American to celebrate. And even if you aren't Black, or are and don't celebrate, I encourage you to start today. Have conversations with your kids. Read books about Juneteenth. Engage your neighbors. And imagine a world where we celebrate everyone, no matter their skin color. Where we celebrate each other as human beings. Today is the day.
To learn more about the history of Juneteenth:
This website is amazing.
Check out this post from our sister site, Orange County Mom Collective.
This is a great list of 10 books to read with your kids.
An article from Seventeen Magazine.
This #BlackAF episode centers around Juneteenth (NOT kid friendly)
Some ways to celebrate Juneteenth: