June 19 marks the day in 1865 when slaves in Galveston, Texas discovered they were finally free to be mere possessions.
This took place more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Therefore, today’s June 19 not only represents freedom, it also serves as a reminder of the nation’s complicated history with race and racism.
The first Juneteenth, in 1866, was commemorated by newly freed blacks proud of their status and the event would have been marked by communal meals, singing and church services.
And celebrations on June 16, 2022 will be celebrated around the world, with the theme of recognizing emancipation of all kinds.
However, the arrival of the holidays coincides with Walmart withdrawing its Juneteenth ice cream following a backlash on social media.
Stephen Frost, a diversity and inclusion thought leader, believes that while recognition of Juneteenth is growing in the United States and elsewhere, there is still more to be done.
He said Newsweek“System change is essential because while white women won the right to vote in the early 1900s, black women were not able to fully vote until the 1960s.
“Structural racism also sees the black incarceration rate in the United States at 33% with a share of the population at just 12%.
“Only when black people are empowered to lead and accountable for decisions that affect them will we truly fight racism.”
The meaning of the June 19 flag and its symbols
The first flag representing Juneteenth was created in 1997 by Ben Haith, the founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation (NJCF).
Artist Lisa Jeanne Graf said on her site that she ‘refined’ the version from original contributors, also including Verlene Hines, Azim and Eliot Design, resulting in the flag being waved proudly during the June 19 marches. today.
On a blue and red background with horizontal stripes, a white star sits in the center, surrounded by another 12-pointed star.
The National Juneteenth Observance Foundation says flag designer Haith led the initial holiday flag-raising ceremony at Boston’s Roxbury Heritage Park.
Haith told CNN last year, “There are so many spiritual aspects to this country, and I believe this flag is of that nature.” [the idea for the design] just passed by me.”
According to NJOF, all of the individual symbols depicted in the June 19 flag have been carefully crafted to represent specific themes important to the movement.
The horizontal aspect of the flag is an attempt to symbolize both the new opportunities and the promising future of black Americans.
This refers both to the Lone Star State of Texas, where Juneteenth was first celebrated, and to the freedom of every black American across the country.
The outline of the star:
The other white mark outlining the perimeter of the star is believed to reflect a nova, representing a new and optimistic rebirth for the nation.
Experts at language learning platform Babbel note that Juneteenth is marked in many ways this year.
They said Newsweek“There are many ways to commemorate June 19, centered around supporting, celebrating, and learning about Black history, culture, and life.
“In the United States, there will be several official events, street fairs, parades and concerts in honor of the holiday.
“Globally, you can celebrate Juneteenth by supporting Black-owned businesses: from restaurants and cafes to small businesses, artists, authors, poets and Black community leaders, supporting and supporting Black communities during the holidays is just a way to celebrate black culture all year round.”
Babbel experts also note how self-education is another important tool to leverage in Juneteenth and beyond.
They said: “Reading educational materials and engaging in socio-political rhetoric from a black perspective can have a positive impact on society’s awareness and ability to identify and take action against systemic racism. .
“Documentaries, books, podcasts, and even social media pages created by black creators are great accessible sources of these types of material.
“You can also take a more politically direct route to showing your support for the black community: donating your time or money to reputable organizations like the NAACP. [The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] or NBJC [National Black Justice Coalition]supporting local and national black charities and signing petitions in support of black freedom and rights are all great ways to show up for this community on June 19 and beyond.”