Racial Injustice has been an issue for centuries. Racism, oppression, violence, and micro aggression have been carried on the backs of African Americans for hundreds of years, causing generational trauma that we are continually trying to heal. Unfortunately, as children, we have to learn how to navigate a world that doesn’t accept us because of the color of our skin. Despite this, we are still taught how to hold joy and celebrate who we are. One of those prideful celebrations includes Juneteenth.
What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth celebrates the emancipation of the remaining enslaved people located in Texas. You see, the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1, 1863, but due to a lack of enforcement, there was a two and a half year delay, and the last bunch of enslaved people were not aware until June 19, 1865. Hence, the celebration of freedom marked with Juneteenth.
There has been a spotlight on the Black Lives Matter movement, specifically police brutality, over the past few weeks. With the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Rayshard Brooks (to name a few), there has been raised awareness on the long-lasting issues with the excessive number of deaths of African Americans by police.
With that, more people are now educating themselves on systemic racism, and real African American history. Not the white-washed history taught in schools (to learn more about how the UDC influenced textbook language in schools, watch this short video here). Unfortunately, Juneteenth is missing from school curriculums, and many Americans became aware of Juneteenth as a holiday only this year.
There are several ways one can celebrate Juneteenth; with both old and new traditions. One of the well-known traditions is making and drinking some form of red soda. Why? History says that red soda (possibly a crushed strawberry soda) was the first thing that free enslaved people drank to celebrate. The simple drink meant a lot as they were not allowed to drink red soda before they were free. You can either buy red soda out of the grocery store or make one of your own. I noticed that this year, tons of red soda recipes have popped up online. I suggest doing a quick google search for “Juneteenth Food and Drink” if you are looking for some inspiration. I’m personally a fan of the Divas Can Cook blog, where she gives recipes for a red drink and another tradition of old-fashioned tea cakes here.
I like to look at Juneteenth as the Black 4th of July. Juneteenth is a celebration of our freedom, so think about any other holiday where you celebrate and spend time with the people that you love. Decorate your door with Juneteenth themed colors (red, green, and black), bbq or make a great dinner, educate yourself on African American history, or perhaps volunteer at a protest or a Black Foundation. Another great way to celebrate the holiday is to Support Black-Owned Businesses. I recently found an app called Black Wall Street that makes it easier to find Black-Owned businesses near you.
This year, my friends and I celebrated a fantastic Juneteenth! With this year’s holiday being in the middle of a pandemic, it was slightly different from my family celebrations in past years. For one, COVID limited our options due to social distancing, and we were all a little more emotional about the holiday given the recent awareness on racial tension and police brutality. Despite external circumstances, we knew we had to continue to focus on the deep meaning of the holiday. We decided to take a quick break from protesting and focus on our mental health. Often, mental health (especially with people of color) is overlooked, and we wanted to take a day to celebrate our freedom and recognize the gratitude for our ancestors’ courage.
We started our day with a hike at East Palisades Trail in Sandy Springs, where we appreciated nature, bonded, and meditated by the Chattahoochee River. Afterward, we had brunch and visited one of my favorite metaphysical stores in Atlanta, Phoenix and Dragon, where I bought some new healing crystals, sage, and candles to assist with our mental health day. We ended our day by cooking a huge dinner and watching documentaries on Black History. In my own time, I also made a few donations and supported some Black-Owned makeup/beauty brands that I will list below.
How Can I Help?
“How Can I Help?” is a question that I hear a lot now. There are so many ways to get involved that it can be hard for individuals to know where to start. I decided to use my blog platform to combine some of my research as well as information I’ve seen online to share with those looking to join the movement.
I usually find protests in Atlanta on Social Media. I’ve heard all cities have a social media page that will help locals find protests in their area. Below are the current social media pages that keep me up to date:
@WhereProtest on Twitter
@protestatlanta on Instagram
@atlradicalart on Instagram
A friendly reminder to ensure you are taking necessary precautions to protect yourself from COVID19 while protesting. Be sure to follow CDC guidelines to the best of your ability.
Action Network: Defund the Police
- Get Educated
Books to Read:
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
How to Be an AntiRacist by Ibram X. Kendi
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
They Can’t Kill Us All: The Story of the Struggle for Black Lives by Wesley Lowery
Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements by Charlene Carruthers
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
A Black Lives Matter Reading List
Films/Shows/Documentaries to Watch:
Who Killed Malcolm X?
When They See Us
I Am Not Your Negro
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
10 “Must Watch” Black History Documentaries
Check out short historical videos on https://www.vox.com/
- Black-Owned Beauty and Makeup Brands
137 Ways to Donate in Support of Black Lives and Communities of Color
- Mental Health Podcasts
Therapy for Black Girls
Therapy for Black Men
Black Girls in Om
Black Mental Health Podcast
- Additional Resources
I will continue updating this post as more information comes in!
One thought on “black lives matter: my juneteenth weekend + ways to get involved in the movement”
Great Blog Kat! Thanks for the in depth Juneteenth background & sharing the mental health podcasts and information. Keep up the great work
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