An important American holiday is approaching, and I don't mean the Fourth of July. On June 19, we celebrate Juneteenth — which commemorates the ending of slavery.
It's an important holiday that should be recognized and celebrated across the country, and fighting for the liberation and uplifting of Black communities is one of the best ways non-Black people can honor the day. There are several important
actions non-Black people can take on Juneteenth to honor and support Black Americans.
Juneteenth is known to many as the anniversary of the end of slavery in America, but that's not entirely correct. Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, but June 19, 1865 is celebrated because it marks the date when word of freedom arrived in Texas, freeing the remaining enslaved people more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
Even then, many people were still enslaved years after news of freedom reached Texas.
Still, this holiday remains significant because of the way
Black communities were able to claim it as their own and rally behind it. It was a holiday all their own without having to give credit to a nation that stalled their freedom.
While there are many traditions revolving around the celebration of Juneteenth, here are 12 ways non-Black people can show their support.
1 Share Information On Social Media
Social media can be a great tool to share information and show your support for a cause. You can do this for Juneteenth as well. Share infographics about the holiday and and amplify Black voices on your social channels. The more you share about Juneteenth, the more likely it is one of your followers will do the same. Once you share information and support on social media, act on it. Creating awareness is incredibly important, but making physical strides toward racial justice, like any of these options on the list, can show allyship and move society in the right direction.
2 Sign Petitions Demanding Justice For Black Lives
Celebrating Juneteenth means celebrating Black lives — and you can't do this without advocating for the lives that have been taken senselessly. Sign petitions demanding justice for Black lives like
#DefundThePolice and Breonna Taylor. Urge your representatives to take steps that will put an end to police brutality and unjust force in your community. Signing petitions can help get the attention of government officials. You can't commemorate Black emancipation without fighting for justice for those who have been killed due to oppression. 3 Shop Black-Owned Businesses
Supporting Black communities can be done in many ways and one of these is by shopping Black-owned businesses. Whether it's restaurants, clothing brands,
makeup companies, or anything in between, supporting Black-owned businesses is crucial because it gives economic power to Black communities, and there are so many wonderful companies to support from. Shopping Black-owned has never been easier thanks to places like Etsy who highlight incredible Black-owned businesses. This is something you should always be doing — not just on Juneteenth. 4 Attend Protests SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images
With Black lives still being taken without consequence, protests in the U.S. occur often. Find a Black Lives Matter protest or a Defund the Police protest to attend. Listen to the speakers, be part of the crowd that's advocating for Black lives, and support your Black peers.
5 Stream Black Artists
You can celebrate Juneteenth by streaming Black artists and supporting their work. Black musicians have paved the way for others in almost every musical genre. Taking the time to appreciate the wide range of Black artists and the work they produce is an act of support as well. Stream their music, increase their plays, and share your favorite songs and albums with others.
6 Make Donations To Black Organizations & Charities
There are many organizations that support different Black communities across the nation. Whether they
support Black trans women, Black youth, or anyone else, you can celebrate Juneteenth by donating to them. Every dollar counts, nothing is too little. If you can afford to give a little back, this is an incredible way to honor those who suffered. Do your research, make a donation, and then encourage your friends and family members to do the same. 7 Educate Yourself & Your Peers
Take the time to educate yourself and your peers about the history surrounding Juneteenth. Do not rely on your Black friends to teach you about the holiday. There are plenty of online resources, books,
podcasts, and movies to help you understand the significance and history of Juneteenth. 8 Make Juneteenth Part Of Your Own Tradition
Juneteenth is pertinent to American history. It shines a light on the U.S.' relationship with slavery while honoring Black people who have had to battle with that history. Make it a point to celebrate Juneteenth in your own household, even if you are not Black. This is incredibly important so that you can educate yourself and those around you on Black history, and support Black communities so you, too, can become a better ally.
9 Familiarize Yourself With The Diversity & Inclusion Office At Your Work Or School
The Diversity and Inclusion Office or representative at your work or school is there for a reason — their job is to educate and ensure equality on the campus or workplace. Utilize them — they are well educated and can inform you about any opportunities to help to advocate for racial equality and/or educate you if you have questions or concerns.
10 If You Have Children, Teach Them About Racism
You’ve heard it before: Nobody is born racist. This is why it is incredibly important to teach your children as they grow up, so they know from the start about how they can be an ally. Teach them the hard facts — history and education is the best way to prevent such events from happening again.
11 Don’t Buy From Or Work For Companies That Are Not Diverse
If there are companies that do not align with with the vision of equality, it is incredibly important to avoid and/or not support them. Although this can seem hard in some situations, it is vital for the ongoing fight against racism. The less society interacts with people who do not have a clear vision of what equality stands for, the more we can progress in our efforts
12 Listen To Teachings & Advice From Black Leaders
Black leaders in our communities are the most powerful people when it comes to the fight against racism. On Juneteenth, there are a load of in-person and
virtual educational celebrations to honor and support the end of slavery in the U.S. Go to them, listen, learn, and honor those who suffered.
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This article was originally published on
June 18, 2020