This year, JCCA will recognize and honor the Juneteenth holiday. It is a long overdue step and more important than ever this year. After a morning of agency-wide reflection and discussion, all city offices will close at 1:00 PM.
Juneteenth is the oldest national commemoration of emancipation and has long been celebrated by Black communities across the country. It marks the day in 1865 that all slaves learned they were free, as news of Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment did not reach slaves in Texas until over two years later.
Juneteenth is not widely known by white Americans and is not recognized as a federal holiday. Most students never learn about it. We hope to raise awareness of this important day and push back against the systemic white-washing of U.S. history.
Here are some suggestions for ways in which to honor Juneteenth.
- Rest. These past few weeks have been stressful, painful, and exhausting. Use this extra time for rest and self-care.
- Learn. If you’re not familiar with the holiday, read up on the importance of this date.
- Connect. Reach out to friends and loved ones to understand what type of support they need.
- Volunteer. While there may be limited opportunities to get involved locally due to the Covid-19 pandemic, identify ways to give back in your community.
- Support. Support a black-owned business in your community or make a donation to an organization actively supporting equity in the United States.
- Celebrate. Use this day to honor the rich experiences and culture of Black Americans.
- But most of all, commit. (Re)commit to advancing racial equity in your work and personal lives.
Here are some links to get you started:
- What is Juneteenth? A Guide to Celebrating America’s Second Independence Day
- The Schomburg Center’s Black Liberation Reading List
- The New York Public Library’s list of children’s books about Juneteenth
- The history of Juneteenth and why it resonates today (Video from the Washington Post)