The Juneteenth commemoration celebrates the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States. The term combines June with nineteenth, which is the day in 1865 that Union Army General Gordon Granger read federal orders in Galveston, Texas proclaiming freedom for enslaved people in that state. 

The date came two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and two months after the end of Civil War fighting. However, news had been slow to reach enslaved people in all parts of the South. The day became a federal holiday in the United States in June 2021…

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Why is it important to celebrate Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is important to celebrate because it honors freedom. It also recognizes the accomplishments and challenges that African American people experience in the United States. The day is also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day and Emancipation Day. It is marked in states across the country with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings.

5 ideas for families to celebrate Juneteenth

  1. Learn it—take a 30-minute virtual tour to learn more about Juneteenth with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture.
  2. Read about it—check out the New York Public Library’s list of children’s books that focus on Juneteenth, or this list from the Anti-Defamation League.
  3. Buy it—purchase items from Black-owned brands on Juneteenth and throughout the year. Here’s Connecticut’s Black-owned business guide.
  4. Talk about it—ask questions that spark conversation, provided they are age appropriate. You might start with:
    1. What did you learn about Juneteenth in school?
    2. Why do you think some states have recently made Juneteenth a national holiday?
    3. What are some things you would teach others about Juneteenth?
  5. Remember it—while February is Black History Month, we should appreciate the struggles and accomplishments of Black Americans all year ‘round. Plus, check out these surprising facts about Black history.

Learn more about Juneteenth:

These resources have helpful information about Juneteenth: 

How to talk about challenging diversity and discrimination topics

It starts by understanding the most recent topics around racism, social justice, and more that have bubbled to the surface in recent years. Here’s the information you need to talk to your kids about stereotypes, unconscious bias, gender bias, macroaggressions and microaggressions, privilege, ageism and ableism.

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