The Race Pandemic has literally taken over every aspect of the conversation about COVID 19, and in a way, we have forgotten we were amidst a medical pandemic. The murder of George Floyd seemingly shook the world and ripped the bandage off a 400-year-old problem, RACISM. Through this, many Black Americans are celebrating Juneteenth instead of the traditional Independence Day because, Juneteenth is when slaves were REALLY FREE.
Due to the influx of desire to celebrate Juneteenth this year, many Black Americans are wondering what they can do to celebrate. I have a list of ideas listed below that we have done in the past as a family. Also, I have some ideas for Non-Black Families that will allow you to use this opportunity as a teachable moment for your family as well.
First, let’s get some logistics out of the way. It's important that everyone has a working understanding of what Juneteenth is. Black•ish (you can watch the full episode on HULU) aired an episode dedicated to the subject and the episode included a video that explained it beautifully using a cartoon. Check it out here
Here’s the skinny, the Emancipation Proclamation has been highly touted for freeing slaves, however, it only applied to slaves that lived near Union Lines as they were able to free themselves and take part in opportunities in the North. Meanwhile, in Texas over 250,000 slaves were unaware they were free until General Granger announced ALL SLAVES were free, TWO YEARS LATER. Juneteenth was born.
Now, how can you celebrate?
1. Start the day off with a History Lesson for your children by reading books and videos from YouTube.
Juneteeth For Mazie (Children’s book read aloud on YouTube)
What is Juneteenth? (Henry Louis Gates Jr. Article)
All Different Now Juneteenth The Day Of Freedom (Children’s book read aloud on YouTube)
To view even more education videos about black culture for children, subscribe to Educational Videos For Students
To view more videos for adults and teens on black culture and film, subscribe to ReelBlack On YouTube
2. Fire Up The Grill - The menu for Juneteenth can encompass different foods, but it's important to incorporate red foods and sweets. The color red symbolized the blood that was shed during the struggle for emancipation/freedom.
Red Soda (of any kind)
Red Velvet Cake/Red Beans and Rice/Strawberry pies etc.
Butter Cookies (or Tea Cakes)
Collard Greens & Black Eyed Peas
3. Support Black Businesses: This can be done in many ways. You can share and subscribe to MY CONTENT and many other Black Business owners and businesses. Need help locating a business? Check out Black Owned Chicago (that's where I am located) and there is a directory for you.
4. Movie Night: Due to the Race Pandemic that we are currently facing, finding these movies are, particularly, easy. Netflix has a lineup of movies that are starring Black people and produced by Black people. Pick one and enjoy! For children, a classic is The Color Of Friendship, it can be found on Disney+
5. Attend A Local Event - Depending on your comfort level due to COVID 19, you can do a google search for events in your area. I have never attended an event for Juneteenth personally, however there are many that happen yearly. If you live in Chicago, here is a list.
Non- Black Families
This is a perfect opportunity to educate yourself and your children. You don’t have to be part of the African Diaspora for you to celebrate, because Black History is American History.
Although these conversations may be difficult for you to navigate, the best thing you can do for your family is to help educate them (and yourself). Our government and educational system has decided to exclude important information about slavery and Black Americans, and due to this erasure, it's up to you to provide your children with this information. It is during this time, you can fully engulf yourself in movies, books and videos that explain Race and the hardships Black People have faced for 400 years.
Do not exclude yourself from acknowledging the day and celebrating it in a way that provides you an opportunity to learn, teach and listen. If you have a Black friend and you would like more guidance, or you have a question, CALL THEM, TEXT THEM, DM THEM, EMAIL THEM, reach out! In order for us to heal these dark wounds, we must begin to communicate better and effectively. Now is the time.
BONUS: Once the children are asleep, and you have some alone time, Check out 8:46, its Dave Chappel's stand up as he reflects on the Race Pandemic.