Juneteenth is also known as Freedom Day or Anniversary Day. Big companies likeAdded Juneteenth to their calendars for the first time in 2020. Google has also made Juneteenth an official calendar holiday. (Apple’s Calendar has already noticed.)
Over the past year, there have been more concerted efforts to make Juneteenth a national holiday, including a petition on Change.org that has garnered more than 1.6 million signatures since its launch in 2020. Some companies and organizations are also giving employees a day off to observe the holiday. Last year, entrepreneur Elon Musk said he wanted Juneteenth, although no paid day off.
If you’re looking for ways to celebrate or celebrate Juneteenth this year, we’ve gathered a list of ideas for you.
Juneteenth history means the end of slavery
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and read a federal order abolishing the institution of slavery in the state:
“The people of Texas have been informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This implies an absolute equality of personal rights and property rights between former masters and slaves, and the hitherto existing connection between them becomes that between employer and hired labour.”
The moment was important. Texas was the last of the Confederate states to continue slavery, despite President Abraham Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation to end slavery in 1863 and despite the Civil War’s end on April 9, 1865. Texas was the most remote state in the Confederacy, and it took Union troops until June to reach Texas in sufficient numbers to announce and enforce the federal order ending slavery there. (The 13th Amendment, which added the abolition of slavery to the Constitution, passed Congress in January 1865, but was not ratified and passed until December 1865.)
Since June 19, 1865, Americans have been celebrating Juneteenth as Emancipation Day, a day of freedom. In 1980, Texas began marking Juneteenth as a public holiday, the first state to do so. Now almost all states commemorate or celebrate Juneteenth to some degree.
How is Juneteenth perceived?
Some traditional ways to celebrate Juneteenth that you still see today include rodeos, fishing, barbecuing and baseball, according to the Juneteenth website. A prayer service, a series of speakers, the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation and dancing are among other early June celebrations, according to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
States where Juneteenth is a paid holiday
While many states celebrate Juneteenth as a public holiday, these are the states that consider it a paid holiday.
- New Jersey
- New York
This is how you celebrate Juneteenth in 2021
Order food from a Black-owned restaurant: Support black restaurant owners in your community by ordering food on Juneteenth and beyond – be here. Yelp and Uber Eats can help you find these restaurants in their apps.
Black lives matter. Support the cause in these eight ways: From making donations to getting more involved with your local community, here are real ideas you can participate inand anti-racism, even from your living room.
Develop yourself and reflect: While slavery ended in 1865, racism persists in countless institutions. Use June 19 as a day to reflect on critical issues that perpetuate discrimination against black people in America and around the world. Spend the day reading about the history of Juneteenth, including how black families felt after being emancipated. Watch the documentary 13th on Netflix, or talk to othersthat can help reveal real problems.
View Juneteenth Events Online: Tune in to the virtual Juneteenth music festival or online celebrations and find a list of local events where you live, like this one.
Place a sign in your front yard: Raise awareness and show your support for Juneteenth by decorating a sign for your front yard or door. This is a great way to educate younger kids in your area who may not know about the holidays.
Celebrate with a barbecue or family meal: Gather your family to celebrate freedom. Since the coronavirus pandemic is still a serious concern, make sure you follow your state’s guidelines for group gatherings (here are the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). We advisewith people outside your household and the when you are not actively eating.
Juneteenth only comes once a year, but there are more ways you can help your community year-round — for example,.