What Is Juneteenth, and How Do I Celebrate It?

What Is Juneteenth, and How Do I Celebrate It?

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(Note: The author of this article is not Black, and the purpose of this article is to educate non-Black folks on the importance of Juneteenth. Furthermore, the author of this article would never presume to instruct Black folks on a holiday that they’ve been celebrating for years.)

Also called Emancipation Day and Black Independence Day, Juneteenth celebrates the abolition of slavery and specifically the moment that Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce the freedom of the enslaved and the ending of the Civil War on June 19, 1865.

Juneteenth is not a national holiday, although it rightfully should be, as nearly every state recognizes it in some capacity. States like New York and Virginia have both recently announced their intentions of making Juneteenth a paid holiday for state employees. And so have brands. In fact, a variety of companies, from Buzzfeed to Adobe, have committed to observing Juneteenth this year.

With the work of the Black Lives Matter movement and the continuing protests around the country against police brutality and systemic racism, the people are putting the pressure on and demanding actively anti-racist policies from the brands they support. It’s simply not enough to be silently “not racist” anymore.

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