June 19th, a day recognized as the end of slavery in the U.S., is so close you can smell the BBQ on the grill already. Keep reading to see how you can commemorate Juneteenth and Black freedom all year round.
Back yard barbecues. During this specific time, it’s important to remember there’s still a virus going around. So, wear protection and be cautious. Maybe keep your barbecue limited to family and close friends. This would also allow for a deep conversation about the situations at hand because who doesn’t love talking politics with the family?
Outdoor activities. Events open to the public are taking place all over the city in honor of Juneteenth and would be a great way to acknowledge the day. But, again I’m going to remind you of the ongoing pandemic and urge that you be safe. If you are looking for some places to go and celebrate simply click here.
On Instagram I asked my followers how they would commemorate the day. Here are some of the responses:
“I will be drawing a depiction with Black, yellow and red of my family.”–Christiana Z., 16
“My family is barbecuing and I got some new books from the library to educate myself,”– Khloe Wright, 16
“Took the day off, spending the day with my friends, producing some Black joy,”–Jakayla Colins.
So whether you’re in the house getting creative, furthering your education, or creating memories with family and friends, there’s a range of ways that you can spend this day. I will be at home social distancing and reading White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. Remember, celebrating our Blackness doesn’t end this weekend. Here’s how you can support the progression of Black lives all year round through everyday activities.
Shop with Black owned businesses. I know it would be nearly impossible to get all you need from strictly Black businesses, but maybe switch what beauty supply store you go to or be conscious of where you buy your next meal. Here’s a link to help find Black owned businesses in Chicago. All you have to do is type in what you’re looking for! Where you target your money and attention matters. Watch Black films and media that highlight the Black experience and other injustices.
Support the Black LGBTQ+ community. You can’t support Blacks without supporting all forms of its communities and movements. This doesn’t end with the pride community. Support Black women, Black people with disabilities both physical and mental, support Black people who are overweight, support the entire community. Criteria doesn’t change the color of your skin. Were not allowed to pick and choose what part of the community we choose to acknowledge. If you don’t support one part, you don’t support any of it.
Continue fighting for the cause. Sign petitions when you see them, donate when you can, attend protests when you can, send texts, send emails, make calls. Don’t be complacent where there is still much progress to be made.
Educate yourself. Ignorance is no longer an excuse. Ask a friend, find books, search the internet about the issues at hand. There are plenty of ways for you to educate yourself on the things facing us today and there’s always more to be learned as history is being shaped every day. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to change your perspective after learning something new.
Be active in politics. I cannot stress enough how important it is that you vote! Educate yourself on voter suppression and help in finding ways around it for those who may not be able to vote. Click here for a resource on four ways you can help fight voter suppression.
This is enough to get you started for now. Until next time, happy Juneteenth!
By Kelbe Nails, Junior, Whitney M. Young