We encourage you to listen, learn, speak out, and reflect upon African-American history and heritage on Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) – Friday, June 19th, 2020.
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day and Cel-Liberation Day, is a holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19th, 1865, Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, and told those who were enslaved of their emancipation (CNN + History Channel, 2020). Learn more about Juneteenth’s history here.
Although President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation two years prior, (on January 1st, 1863), Texas was the last state to have the proclamation announced, so Juneteenth marks the emancipation of the last remaining enslaved African Americans in the United States (Wikipedia, 2020).
“Today, Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future. Its growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America long overdue. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society” (Juneteenth.com, 2020).
United in Mamahood
While we still have a long way to go to combat racism, racial discrimination, and equality, we’re calling on humans — especially mothers — to make sure Juneteenth’s history is talked about, honored, and that respect is paid for the sufferings of slavery. We are committed to raising future generations who are kind, open-minded, respectful of all cultures, educated on African American history, and empowered to be loving and inclusive. We are #unitedinmamahood.
Image via Flagler Live
Honor History with your Family
Here are a few suggestions on what you can do with your children (via New York Public Library & Juneteenth.com):
Storytell and educate with these recommended books on Juneteenth – All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson, art by E.B. Lewis, Juneteenth for Maizie by Floyd Cooper, Juneteenth Jamboree by Carole Boston Weatherford, art by Yvonne Buchanan, Juneteenth by Rachel Koestler-Grack, Let’s Celebrate Emancipation Day & Juneteenth by Barbara deRubertis, The Story of Juneteenth: An Interactive History Adventure by Steven Otfinoski.
- Connect with your local community – “Juneteenth is a time to celebrate, to gather as a family, to reflect on the past and look to the future. We invite you to engage in your history, learn where you came from, and discover (or share) ways to celebrate this holiday” (National Museum of African American History & Culture). The National Museum of African American History & Culture has some great resources here; tune into the Museum virtually for presentations, stories, photographs, and recipes from the Sweet Home Café. We also encourage you to support Black-owned businesses in your local community. Motherly has a great list of resources here.
- Use your voice – Encourage your neighborhood and local businesses to decorate and display Juneteenth signs and banners. Make signs with your kids to hang up around your house or display in your front windows. You can learn more about the Juneteenth flag and its colors here.
- Make a donation – About 20 percent of women develop a perinatal mental health illness. For Black women, the risk is almost twice that — and few Black women get the necessary treatment to help (Black Women’s Health Imperative). In support of the Black Lives Matter movement that continues to inspire and motivate our nation to take action and speak up, we are donating 100% proceeds of sales from our United in Motherhood shirt to the Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA). The BMMA encourages Black mamas to advocate, research, build power, and shift culture for Black maternal health, rights, and justice. We stand in support with their vision — a world where Black mamas have the rights, respect, and resources to thrive before, during, and after pregnancy.
At FIT4MOM, we are continuing to listen, learn, and grow. We welcome feedback and suggestions and look forward to having open and honest conversations.