Technically Juneteenth is on Sunday, June 19th, 2022, but some are recognizing it all week.
Depending on your background and the region you live, you may have only first heard of Juneteenth in 2020 (when more residents of the United States began to recognize the realities of racism following George Floyd’s murder), or maybe you remember it being mentioned last 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 that one, 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 (especially) 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:
We agree with this too — just as relevant today as it was then.
— Kellogg School (@KelloggSchool) June 9, 2021
Black History Month needs to be more than just the shortest month of the year. Last year, the U.S. government made Juneteenth an official federal holiday for governmental employees. 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, and over a year and a half after taking office, the Treasury Dept still hasn’t done it. They say it’s coming but we have to wait.
So many things apparently are still stalled, 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 two years have 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 action-based allyship for BIPOC.