Technically Juneteenth is tomorrow but many are celebrating today.
You may have only first heard of Juneteenth last year (when the majority in the United States was starting to recognize the realities of racism following George Floyd’s murder), or maybe you’re seeing it mentioned this year. If you’re not Black and/or don’t live in the U.S., you may have never heard of it at all.
No matter your race or nationality, though, you’ve probably heard of the 4th of July. Juneteenth is as significant a day in the history of our country as it is a day of liberation and freedom.
Given that that’s supposedly a core value of this country — Land of the Free and all — then it seems like something that should be more widely understood and honored. Even by white people and other non-Blacks.
Here’s the basics:
Here’s a white guy queuing up Amber Ruffin explaining this:
Or somewhat better, as at least this one is featuring only POC, if you need your Black history sanctioned by HBS then you can watch this one instead:
Black History Month needs to be more than just the shortest month of the year. Just a day ago, the U.S. government made Juneteenth an official federal holiday for governmental employess. That’s barely progress, but it’s something.
They’ve been saying they are going to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 for years and years now. We’re still in wait-and-see mode, watching and waiting for change, but if you’re someone who cares about these things, you can embrace these changes in yourself, by paying attention to things that matter to people who don’t look like you or don’t carry the same privilege as you. That increase in intentional awareness is probably the first step needed for anyone to become antiracist. The work of creating equity in our world needs to happen by those in the majority who make it a priority, who change themselves and thereby change the culture. There was a new consciousness of these issues in 2020 and now a year has passed, but the systems have not substantively changed. We will continue reminding those in power, bringing things like Juneteenth to the attention of our readers who are non-Black, and working on improving our allyship for BIPOC.
Update, by way of further explanation: Yes, thank you Kellogg and Dr. Pearce, we agree with this too.
— Kellogg School (@KelloggSchool) June 9, 2021