Honoring Juneteenth (and what you can learn and do today)

Honoring Juneteenth is something that I don’t take for granted. I continue to stay committed in supporting the Black community by sharing as much information and resources I can on my blog and other platforms so that we can all be the best allies we can be.

Tolerance.org explains that this celebration marks a day in 1865 when enslaved Texans learned they’d be free—two months after Robert E. Lee surrendered and ended the Civil War and two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Initially a uniquely Texan observance, Juneteenth has now been recognized in some form in every corner of the country.

Lessons about Juneteenth need to recognize the challenges those who fight injustice have always faced, but they shouldn’t be marked only by the tragedy of enslavement. Students, particularly Black students, can find empowerment in the jubilant celebrations of culture, activism, and the humanity of a people.

anitayokota.com Anita Yokota Method

Image credit:Morgan Harper-Nichols

I just discovered Morgan Harper-Nichols and I’m so excited and inspired by her work. You definitely need to follow her on IG! This artwork by Morgan Harper-Nichols reflected my conversation with Nile Johnson today. If you missed our wonderful IGTV conversation about what it is like being a Black designer in the interior design world and also life topics like being a pro at doing his daughters’ hair, definitely click on this link and take a listen.

At the heart of Nile’s sharing, he mentioned that at the end of the day we are all human. And we all deserve the respect every one of us is entitled to. Not more, not less. But that doesn’t mean it’s a one-way street. We all need to do our part to meet in the middle.

It’s been beyond enlightening to have active conversations on raw and many times anxiety-producing topics. But the insights and revelations that come out of the conversations leave me speechless.

I feel so much more connected with humanity lately even though during Covid-19 it’s been physically restrictive to see friends.

Despite all the negativity and tragedy, I also see proof that out of trials and tribulations, if we seek it, growth is present and ready for us to exercise.

Helpful Juneteenth Articles

I’ve rounded up four articles that educate and explain the importance of Juneteenth.

  • I really enjoyed this article written by tolerance.org. It is written from the perspective of a teacher educating students. As I read it, it felt like I was being taught on the subject. It’s clear, to the point and very informative.
  • Have you watched the show Blackish before? I’ve loved this show since it began. The writing is relatable, humorous, and open-ended. Their episode on Juneteenth helped put the holiday on pop culture’s current radar.
  • I didn’t know about The Root until recently. They published this video that gives an insightful overview of Juneteenth and it’s importance.
  • In an effort to continue to support Black-owned businesses, here’s Emily Henderson’s list of 60 Black-owned home decor businesses.

What you can do today

Generally speaking, my peeps are grouped into two major cities, LA and NYC. So I listed two articles that give you ideas of what you can participate in locally.

  1. How to celebrate Juneteenth in NYC
  2. How to celebrate Juneteenth in LA or OC. 

Google has been extremely intentional in highlighting Black Lives Matter and Juneteenth. If you live anywhere else besides LA and NYC, definitely google Juneteenth in your city and something will pop up.

If you choose to celebrate it at home, take a look at a few things I’m considering to do with my kids and family:

  1. Have a chat with your kids while drawing pictures. Art therapy is a wonderful way to start conversations about more heavy or difficult topics. It frees children and teens up to talk without just sitting there staring at an adult.
  2. Encourage your kids and friends and neighbors to make signs and put it out on your front yards.
  3. Social distance 6 feet apart with friends and celebrate diversity and the Black community with food, music, and readings from insightful authors, poets, speakers.
  4. I am a forever fan of PBS Kids for finding the right educational tools for my kids. If you look here, even if you aren’t a teacher, it is a wonderful video that you and your kids can watch.
  5. This USA Today article explains how to teach children and teens about slavery. There is a list of books for younger and older children to read as well.

This is a wonderful way to start the weekend, don’t you think? Digging a bit deeper and growing ourselves isn’t always comfortable. But I’m a firm believer that we need to keep at it to truly experience the life we are blessed with.

 

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