June 19 marks the 157th anniversary of Juneteenth, a holiday honoring the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. Considered the longest-running African American holiday, Juneteenth is a day of acknowledgement, education, reflection, and cultural appreciation.
Juneteenth is a reminder of how far the Black community has come as well as a beacon of hope for the progress we have yet to achieve in the fight against racial injustice – where we still face issues of discriminatory housing policies, lack of economic investment, mass incarceration, police violence, voter suppression and racial profiling incidents.
Juneteenth is also an opportunity – to listen, learn and amplify Black voices as well as reflect on our own allyship and the unique roles we can play to create a more equitable and inclusive society. Here are a few ways you can get started:
- Educate, Connect & Reflect: Watch the documentary 13th on Netflix, or engage with other movies, shows, books and podcasts that can help reveal real-world, present-day issues. You can also tune in virtually to the Juneteenth music festival or find a listing of local events where you live.
- Support Black-Owned Businesses: Supporting Black-owned businesses also means supporting Black communities. According to the latest data from the Census Bureau, there are more than 3 million Black-owned businesses in the United States, generating $206 billion in annual revenue and supporting 3.56 million U.S. jobs. Find local Black-owned businesses near you.
- Consider Ways You Can Advocate for Racial Equality: From making donations to getting more involved in your local community, there are many different ways you can uniquely support a more inclusive and equitable society.
Acknowledgement of the darker truths of our past and celebration of the progress we’ve made is the first step. This year, consider the responsibility we all share to not only create broader recognition and understanding, but also to make individual efforts to create lasting change in our communities.