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