by Carjamin Scott on June 19, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. CST
Today is Juneteenth, African American Independence Day. On this day, we celebrate one of the most revolutionary events in our history designed to dismantle the enslavement of Blacks. In 1865, General Order No. 3 was issued by Unionist Major General Gordon Granger to inform Texans that slaves are no longer the property of their masters.
Although, the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1893, Texas was exempt from the rule which made June 19, 1865 the official African American Independence Day. As we celebrate this day, let us recognize where we, as Americans, have come from, how we can keep our history alive, and what we should do moving forward. Here are six ways to celebrate Juneteenth.
1.Document Juneteenth with an elder or child.
Consider this perspective, Juneteenth happened 156 years ago. According to the United Nations, our lifespan is 72 years. This means, that we are only about 3 generations removed from the establishment of Black slavery. Find a great grandmother or grandfather and ask them what they know about Juneteenth. Talk with your children about the history of Juneteenth. Document these stories to keep the memories alive.
2.Host a party and register your friends to vote.
Our vote is our voice. If we want to continue progressing towards freedom for all in America, we will need to be sure our voices are heard. Host a house or block party, invite your local elected officials, and register your friends to vote.
3.Attend Juneteenth celebration events.
Here in Nashville, there are many organizations hosting Juneteenth celebration events. At Fort Negley Park, Mayor David Briley, The Equity Alliance, Kwame Lillard, Gideons Army and others are gathering tonight from 5-8 pm for a Juneteenth celebration hosted by Juneteenth615 and the African American Cultural Alliance.
4.Go to a local school and complete a Juneteenth lesson.
I remember the Emancipation Proclamation history lesson; however, I did not learn about Juneteenth in school. Did you? Contact a principal at your neighborhood school and ask if you can deliver a Juneteenth history lesson.
5.Volunteer and give money to Black led non-profits.
Nashville has over 100 non-profit organizations working to create opportunities and restore hope for marginalized communities. Which causes are important to you: healthcare, education, fair wages? Non-profit organizations need money and volunteers like you to further their vision and help to create freedom and equality for all.
6.Patronize Black owned businesses.
Replace your everyday items with Black owned goods. Try and buy new products. Shop at Black owned restaurants and bookstores. If you do not have any businesses in mind, it’ll only take a quick google search to find Black owned businesses in your area.
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Carjamin Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow her on twitter @scottcarjie, instagram @carjiescott, and facebook at Dr. Carjie Scott.