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Celebrating Juneteenth & Commemorating History

Resources to help you learn about and engage with Black history, culture, art and community in celebration of Juneteenth.

The colors of the Pan African flag (red, green and black) with the words Juneteenth and Freedom Day

Today, Juneteenth is just beginning to gain widespread recognition as a holiday, however, it stands for a major milestone in American history. Though the Emancipation Proclamation was intended to free all enslaved people, most weren’t granted freedom until nearly three years later on June 19, 1865. 

Long observed in the Black community, Juneteenth marks the true end of slavery and is a celebration of freedom, emancipation and liberation. It’s also a moment to celebrate the many ways Black Americans have shaped our nation’s culture – from music and art to literature, civil rights and business. 

Recognizing Juneteenth and celebrating it in your community is an important way to amplify and honor Black history and culture while also understanding the significance of the holiday in today’s society.

The History of Juneteenth

On September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation to free enslaved Black people in the United States. The proclamation didn’t mean immediate freedom, however. Instead, the proclamation didn’t go into effect until 1863. And even then, it was just on paper. Many Southern slave owners migrated West into Texas in an effort to evade the Union and continue owning slaves. 

True liberation happened on June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers marched into Galveston Bay, Texas, and announced that more than 250,000 enslaved black people were free. It’s important to recognize that the day didn’t include instant freedom for all. Many slave owners were not quick to let slaves go, making it still a difficult process. 

As of June 2021, Juneteenth is officially a federal holiday. Celebrating the day in the U.S. means recognizing the difficult path toward freedom while celebrating the huge milestone of ending institutionalized slavery. 

How to Celebrate

Cities across the U.S. have started putting together more Juneteenth celebrations as the holiday becomes more widely recognized. If you’re in the Bay Area, along with the HoneyBook HQ, we recommend attending some of the great community events coming up. 

If you’re not, we encourage you to find events in your own community or celebrate at home with friends and family. Here are some great ways to celebrate Juneteenth this year: 

Bay Area Events

Support Black Artists

Immerse Yourself In Your Community’s Black Culture

How to Make an Impact

  • Volunteer your time (or donate if you are able)
    • Fair Fight – Advocates for voter participation 
    • HeadCount – Promotes voter education and participation in democracy through the power of music
    • Rock The Vote – Dedicated to building the political power of young people
    • Black Girls Code – Provides technology education to Black girls
    • NAACP – Grassroots activism for civil rights
    • Common Ground Foundation – Empowers high school students from underserved communities to become future leaders
  • Make a financial contribution if you are able (or volunteer your time) 
    • Support Mutual Aid – A volunteer community-based effort that provides groceries, baby supplies, funds to make rent, etc all across the U.S. 
    • Loveland Foundation – Therapy fund that provides access to mental health support for People of Color with a specific focus on Black women and girls 
    • The Bail Project – Working to prevent incarceration and fight against racial and economic disparities in the bail system
    • Act Blue – They manage split donations so that individuals can donate to multiple organizations at once
    • Black and Brown Founders – They help Black and Brown entrepreneurs launch tech businesses by providing them with community, education and access
    • HoneyBook has chosen to support the Martha P. Johnson Institute this year, which protects and defends Black trans people for the sole purpose of bettering the Black trans community across the diaspora
  • Continue listening, engaging with and learning from the Black community, not just on Juneteenth but all year

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