“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin
Our nation marks the 156th anniversary of Juneteenth this Saturday, June 19. Also known as Freedom Day, Liberation Day, Emancipation Day and Jubilee Day, Juneteenth is celebrated as an important day in American history and the history of slavery. It was on June 19, 1865, more than 2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation officially outlawed slavery in the U.S., that the last known slaves were freed in Galveston, Texas.
As the awareness of Juneteenth grows, and its recognition as a legal national holiday is soon to be reality, schools, businesses and organizations across most of the U.S. are taking time out to commemorate the day in a variety of ways.
All of us here at The Vernā Myers Company invite you to celebrate with us and the rest of the country in furthering awareness to help create a more equal and equitable society. Here’s our 3 C’s to help guide you through Juneteenth and beyond.
Cities and towns across the country are planning virtual and in person Juneteenth celebration events this year. Here are a few suggestions:
- Juneteenth NYC 3 Day Summit. Happening June 18th-20th, this annual 3-day Brooklyn-based event offers opportunities to participate online and in person. Learn more and register here.
- Smithsonian Museum of African American Culture and History. Juneteenth: A Celebration Of Resilience is an online event happening throughout the day on June 19th and 20th. No registration is required. Get the full list of events here.
- Juneteenth Unityfest. Tune in Saturday, June 19th at 5-9pm EST for the Robert Randolph Foundation’s national livestream event. You can check out the show’s full line-up of performances here.
Juneteenth is a day to reflect, recognize and understand our complete American history. This includes taking some time to read books from Black authors (check out this reading list) or listening to podcasts centered around race and equality in our country (Code Switch, Diversity Gap). If movies are your thing, then be sure to watch Miss Juneteenth, Black Panther or The Hate U Give.
There are many ways you can help promote change through the support of Black initiatives, charities and organizations. But there are also ways you can promote change right in your own home. Here are 3 Tips from Vernā Myers on how to have those difficult but important conversations around bias in your own home:
- Interrupt Bias. When you hear a family member say something offensive, ask the question: “What do you mean by that?” By asking this simple question, you’re interrupting bias, and making it clear that offensive comments are inappropriate.
- Use “I” Statements. Family members may not realize they are saying racist things. There is a way that you can speak your truth in love by using “I” statements like “I have had a very different experience.” To share our truth we do not need to shame, blame or attack others. The important thing is to offer another view to interrupt the prejudice so that it does not stand unnoticed or unchallenged. To be silent is to be complicit with the bias.
- Engage the Next Generation. Invite children in your home into the conversation about our country and race. We can’t afford to maintain their innocence or ignorance when they could be the subject of injustice or a witness to it.
Want to learn more about interrupting bias this Juneteenth holiday? Check out Vernā’s Ted Talk: How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them or register for our course Exploring Unconscious Bias with Vernā Myers to learn how to recognize and interrupt bias.