Juneteenth Celebrations, Today and Beyond

Part 3 of the “A Time to Celebrate and Educate” Series 

In many ways, Juneteenth can be celebrated much like July 4th. So why not celebrate it on July 4th since this is America’s independence day? The problem with July 4th is that this date means next to nothing to most African Americans, since our ancestors were enslaved during its conception. The roots that Juneteenth holds to our ancestors makes it much more significant for African Americans.  

Juneteenth celebrates African American freedom and achievement with its focus on education and continuous self improvement, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend the whole day researching. There are activities that started back then that have become a part of and continue in today’s traditions include: rodeos, fishing, barbecuing and baseball. Since the weather is usually nice in June, it is common for festivities to include cookouts and family gatherings. This makes it a good time to reconnect with family and have conversations with grandparents about the past and the trials and tribulations they faced while growing up. Other ways to celebrate include parades, street fairs, park parties, as well as wearing specific garments. 

Today, Juneteenth festivities have become more widespread with the potential to be much greater than most holidays we celebrate today. Though to make it happen, it will take the willingness of African Americans who wish to better themselves as well as those around them and in their communities. As we move forward in our attempt to dismantle the systemic and systematic racism we face in our everyday lives, we must remember to not let our emotions get the best of us. Now is the time to organize and come together as a community, so that we can create a safer future for us as well as the children.

How would you like to see Juneteenth celebrated going forward? What traditions could be added to help make Juneteenth a holiday of celebration and education? 

*Disclaimer: The author does not suggest taking part in large gatherings during the Covid-19 pandemic*

Some information for this article was gathered from https://www.pbs.org/wnet/african-americans-many-rivers-to-cross/history/what-is-juneteenth/ & https://www.juneteenth.com/history.htm

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