The emancipation of slaves in the Confederate States of America happened on June 19th, 1865—more than two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. This day, now called “Juneteenth,” commemorates the end of slavery in America.
For many people, Juneteenth is a day to learn about and celebrate African-American history and culture. It’s a day to reflect on the struggles of Black people in America and to think about what we can do to be better allies in the fight for racial justice.
The smell of freedom, the sound of joy, and the taste of victory—all these things come to mind when we think of Juneteenth. African-Americans were finally free from the chains of slavery, but the fight for equality was far from over.
We still have a lot of work to do to achieve true racial justice in America, but celebrating Juneteenth is a good place to start.
Here are seven ways you can celebrate Juneteenth as an ally:
#1. Educate yourself about the history of Juneteenth and the African-American experience.
If you’re not already familiar with Juneteenth, take some time to learn about the holiday and its significance. Read books, watch documentaries, and talk to people who can share their personal experiences with you. The more you know about the African American experience, the better equipped you’ll be to fight for justice.
#2. Attend a Juneteenth celebration in your community.
Many communities celebrate Juneteenth with parades, festivals, and other events. Some events are explicitly geared towards educating people about Juneteenth, while others are more focused on celebrating African-American culture. Attend an event in your community and take part in the festivities.
#3. Display a Juneteenth flag or other symbol of support.
Have a flag or other symbol of support for Juneteenth? Display it proudly! There’s no better way to show solidarity than by flying a flag or displaying a sign that says you stand with the African-American community.
Let’s say you don’t have a flag or other symbol of support. That’s OK! You can still show solidarity by wearing clothing or accessories with Juneteenth or African-American-themed symbols.
#4. Volunteer with or donate to an organization that supports the African-American community.
Many organizations work to support the African-American community. Volunteer your time or make a donation to one of these organizations. Some organizations to consider include the NAACP, Black Lives Matter, and the Urban League. Start by doing a quick Google search to see what organizations are active in your community. Then, reach out and see how you can help.
#5. Speak out against racism and discrimination.
That’s right! Silence is not an option. If you witness racism or discrimination, speak up! Yes, it can be uncomfortable, but it’s essential to stand up for what’s right. You don’t have to be an expert on race relations to speak out against racism. Just use your common sense and be respectful.
- If you’re not sure what to say, here are a few ideas:
- Racism is wrong.
- Discrimination is unacceptable.
- All people deserve to be treated with respect.
- I don’t tolerate racism or discrimination.
- I’m committed to promoting racial justice.
These are just a few suggestions, but you can tailor your message to suit the situation. The bottom line is that you should speak up against racism and discrimination whenever you see it.
#6. Support businesses owned by African-Americans.
One of the best ways to support the African-American community is to spend your money at black-owned businesses. Make an effort to patronize black-owned businesses in your community and encourage others to do the same. When you support black-owned businesses, you’re investing in the African-American community and helping to create jobs.
#7. Listen to and amplify the voices of African-Americans.
African-Americans have a lot to say, and we need to listen. Pay attention to the news and social media to see what African-Americans are talking about. When you see something that resonates with you, share it with your friends and family. You can also amplify the voices of African-Americans by attending events, signing petitions, and speaking out against racism and discrimination.
Celebrating Juneteenth is a great way to show your support for the African-American community. By taking part in some or all of these activities, you can show your solidarity and help to promote racial justice.