Last year, amidst an unprecedented time in our nation’s history, our team at Concern US committed to joining millions of Americans in making Juneteenth a day of service and celebration of Black lives. A year later, and 155 years after the first Juneteenth celebration, Juneteenth is now a nationally observed federal holiday.
So, what is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth National Independence Day – also known as Freedom Day and Liberation Day – is a celebration of the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. While President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1862 officially outlawed slavery, for more than two years following his executive order, a handful of states ignored this law and even expanded slavery. On June 19th, 1865, the Union Army entered Galveston, Texas to declare freedom from slavery and stayed to enforce it. Texas wouldn’t be the last State or Territory to abolish slavery, that would come later in the year. However, June 19th or Juneteenth became a celebratory symbol of freedom in the Black community.
And, why is Concern observing this holiday?
The very mission of Concern is to fight for equality – we believe in a world where no one lives in poverty, fear, or oppression and where everyone has the ability to live a long, healthy, and creative life. We observe Juneteenth by closing our office and creating space for our team to reflect, celebrate, and take action.
How do I celebrate?
The significance of Juneteenth is to promote and cultivate a deeper understanding and appreciation of Black history and culture.
Here is what we’re doing today:
- Raising Awareness – Share with your friends, family, and networks how you are honoring Black history and celebrating Black culture and joy this Juneteenth.
- Supporting Our Local BOBs (Black-Owned Business) #HumanitariansLoveAcronyms – The best way to support Black communities is by investing in them. Check out the US Chamber of Commerce’s comprehensive official Black-Owned Business Directories to find your next favorite restaurant, store, or brand. A few of our local favorites are:
- Celebrating with Friends & Family
- Have a cookout (aka barbeque) with fireworks and fun while listening to Juneteenth Vibes
- Attend virtual celebration events like Step Afrika! & #blkfreedom
- Un-learning and Re-Imagining History with Black Creators– Set aside some time this Juneteenth to read, watch, or listen to some new perspectives on Black history and Black life in America.
- Read: Beloved, Americanah, Real Life, The Underground Railroad or Hood Feminism
- Watch: 13th – named after the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution a documentary film explores the “intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States”.
- Listen: To former Women of Concern Honoree and CEO of Chicago Beyond, Liz Dozier, with Black Futures Lab and Black Lives Matter co-founder, Alicia Garza discuss how today’s civic and policy engagement can overcome historical barriers and build back an equitable future for all during this virtual event.
Today is a day of action, but also celebration.
“Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring”
The Team @ Concern Worldwide US