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Juneteenth is about celebrating the possibilities of good things to come, resilience, creativity and community!

Juneteenth: Ideas for Celebrating Black Liberation, Culture, Connection, and Joy!

Adapted from Boys & Girls Clubs Club Experience Blog.

Gather around and let me tell you about Black Liberation and Joy! Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, serves as a time for African Americans to gather in community to celebrate liberation, culture, strong connections and joy! It’s a holiday that has roots in Texas. Enslaved African Americans received “the good news” by military order. They were finally liberated from slavery on June 19th, 1865. “June” plus “nineteenth” is Juneteenth. This message of freedom arrived nearly two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation formally ending slavery in the United States.

It is hard to image the mix of fear, confusion, and yet abundant joy those newly freed men, women, and children experienced when they learned that they were closer to determining their own futures. They were charting new paths unimaginable for previous generations of enslaved African Americans. Unbeknownst to them, their next steps towards freedom marked a turning point for future generations.

Juneteenth isn’t just about celebrating a day or a single historical event. It is about celebrating the possibilities of good things to come, resilience, creativity and community! Over time, Juneteenth festivities have grown from regional events to calls across the nation for this special day to be enshrined as a federal holiday. Forty-seven states; the District of Columbia; and companies such as Twitter, Nike, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s national office mark it as an official holiday of remembrance. Now that you know a little bit more about Juneteenth and why there’s so much to celebrate, here are a few ideas for how you and the kids and teens in your life can celebrate Black liberation on Juneteenth and year-round:

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Help teens in your life register to vote.
Voting is a right that was not always accessible to African Americans, women and other ethnic groups. Encouraging young people of age to register to vote and cast their ballot is important. It ensures their voice is counted and that representatives at the local, state and national levels reflect their priorities in policies and laws that govern our communities and nation. Learn more here.

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Support Black-owned businesses.
By purchasing services and goods from Black-Owned Businesses, you are investing in job creation, Black creativity and innovation, and the ability of individuals and families to build wealth. A thriving community has thriving businesses.

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Offer virtual experiences to younger kids to educate and celebrate Black Culture.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture hosts “Joyful Fridays”, a Zoom class led by museum educators. Based on the book series, Joyful ABC Activity Book, activities feature art projects and other lessons that aim to teach, inspire and create. Live instruction requires pre-registration. You can also find pre-recorded lessons and resources here.

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Get your tween and teen active while learning, moving to the “Black History Bootcamp: The walking podcast” series by Girltrek.
Girltrek is an organization devoted to getting African American women and girls to walk as a practical step to inspiring healthy lifestyles. You don’t have to be Black to enjoy the lessons and positive affirmations. The Black History Bootcamp offers multiple 21-episode seasons that celebrate Black stories, voices and history, including focuses on Foremothers, Resistance, Prayer, and Cosmonauts. Listen, learn, connect, and get active! Find it by searching for Girltrek’s Black History Bootcamp in your preferred podcast player.

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Host or join a book club selection that centers Black happiness, joy, family, friendships and connection.
The images often shown on tv, in the movies and in other forms of media highlight the trauma and pain Black people experience. Celebrating Black joy challenges those stories by showing Black people living happy, fulfilling, playful lives. Check out this list of 30 books for young readers that are affirming of Black joy!

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Create opportunities for youth to connect with the important people in their lives.
The passing down of stories and history is a central way Black people have connected over generations. StoryCorps has a platform that allows individuals to ask questions, listen and share stories that are then archived at the Library of Congress. How cool is that?! StoryCorps has tips to get conversations started. They also offer different ways to record conversations. Learn more about how you can nurture connections here.




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