Today is Juneteenth!
In short, it is an incredibly special day in US History-- the day that commemorates the end of slavery.
But there is MUCH more to it than that.
To learn more, we want to specifically highlight articles from African-American news sources and African American journalists on the meaning and significance of this holiday. This is an important opportunity to amplify black voices and honor black perspectives on this topic-- to listen, to gain understanding, and to build bridges.
FIRST UP: AFRICAN-AMERICAN NEWS SOURCES
#1) "19 Juneteenth Events Taking Place Around the Country" from Blavity.
Article highlight: The title says it all :).
Source: Blavity’s mission is to be “a community of the most exceptional multi-cultural creators and influencers in the world. We partner with diverse content creators and influencers to help them reach a wider audience, amplify their message, and fund their hustles. We believe that the world shifts according to the way people see it— and if you change the way people view the world, you can transform it.”
#2) “6 Important Things You May Not Know About Juneteenth — But Should” from Atlanta Black Star
Article highlight: Did you know that the Mascogo people of Mexico celebrate Juneteenth, too?
Source: This one is local! Atlanta Black Star “was created to publish empowering narratives for all people of African descent and everyone who adheres to our culture. We publish narratives intentionally and specifically to enlighten and transform the world.” Their work is guided by a seven-point manifesto outlining their beliefs and values.
#3-4) One current article: 'An Idea Whose Time Has Come': Congress Hears the Case for Reparations on Juneteenth,
One throwback article: Black-ish Taught Me More About Slavery in 22 Minutes Than My Entire Education, both from The Root
Article highlight: Be sure to follow this case in congress, happening TODAY! And if you haven’t watched that Blackish episode yet, it is a must-watch!
Source: The Root provides readers with “Black News, Opinions, Politics and Culture.” From their Facebook page: “The Root provides an unflinching analysis of important issues in the black community through insightful and savvy commentary from black thought-leaders.” They also have a great series of videos on their Facebook page called “Unpack That,” which challenge racial issues in entertaining ways.
#5-6) Seven Things To Know About Juneteenth
*AND* Where All The Presidential Candidates Stand On Reparations, In Their Own Words
(since both are relevant today), both from NewsOne
Article(s) highlight: Interesting to read both today, given the historical significance of the date and the re-opening of the reparations conversation in recent news.
Source: About NewsOne.com, in their own words:
#7) “Cory Booker On Juneteenth And Honoring Our Ancestors: 'We Must Pay It Forward'” from Essence
Article highlight: "In his first op-ed for Essence, Cory Booker shares how the spirit of the holiday should be celebrated and how he would fulfill the legacies of those who fought for emancipation."
Source: Essence is one that has become a household name. In their words: "The ESSENCE Brand—Where Black Women Come First-- for news, entertainment and motivation. ESSENCE occupies a special place in the hearts of millions of Black women-- its not just a magazine but her most trusted confidante, a brand that has revolutionized the magazine industry and has become a cultural institution in the African-American community. Founded in 1968, Essence Communications Inc. (ECI) launched ESSENCE, the ground-breaking magazine created exclusively for African-American women. For 42 years, the company has flourished and expanded beyond the pages of its flagship magazine to generate brand extensions such as the Essence Music Festival, Women Who Are Shaping the World Leadership Summit, Window on Our Women (WOW I, II & III) and Smart Beauty I, II & III consumer insights, the Essence Book Club, Essence.com, and ventures in digital media (mobile, television and VOD) via Essence Studios."
#8) This next one had too many good reads to pick just 1 or 2, so here are simply the search results for “Juneteenth” from Ebony.
Article highlight: 35 out of 50 States recognize Juneteenth as an official holiday. It is not currently recognized as a federal holiday.
Source: Another one with longstanding name recognition. "EBONY is the No. 1 source for an authoritative perspective on the Black community. Now in its 71st year, the monthly magazine reaches nearly 11-million readers featuring the best thinkers, trendsetters, hottest celebrities and next-generation leaders. EBONY ignites conversation, promotes empowerment and celebrates aspiration. Available nationwide on newsstands and the iPad, EBONY is the heart, the soul and the pulse of Black America. It’s more than a magazine, it’s a movement."
NEXT UP: AFRICAN-AMERICAN JOURNALISTS
#1-2) A current article, “The 2020 Democratic primary debate over reparations, explained,” *AND*
A throwback article: “Why celebrating Juneteenth is more important now than ever: It’s time for America to truly grapple with its legacy of slavery.”,
both by P.R. Lockhart of Vox
Article highlight: A powerful quote that stuck with me from Lockhart's writing:
"While Juneteenth has become the most prominent Emancipation Day holiday in the US, it commemorates a smaller moment that remains relatively obscure. It doesn’t mark the signing of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, which technically freed slaves... it marks the moment when emancipation finally reached those in the deepest parts of the former Confederacy. In many ways, Juneteenth represents how freedom and justice in the US has always been delayed for black people."
Source: Lockhart says, “I write about race: how it intersects with gender, sexuality, and economic status, how it influences social justice movements, and how communities of color interact with and are affected by policy and politics. Before joining Vox, I covered race and politics for Mother Jones.”
#3-4) “Balancing the Ledger on Juneteenth” By Vann R. Newkirk II
Article highlight: "The debate over reparations highlights the dual purpose of the holiday: celebrating emancipation but also demanding accountability for historical and present wrongs."
“The Case for Reparations” By TA-NEHISI COATES
On the article and the author: A classic of our times! Ta-Nehisi Coates is a prominent writer, a modern day civil rights activist, and as of this very morning, a testifier in a landmark court case on reparations. In his words, "Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole."
Both from The Atlantic.
Note on the source: The Atlantic was publishing pieces by Civil Rights activists as early as 1897.
*BONUS!* - 2 TEACHING RESOURCES FOR JUNETEENTH
#1) “What Is Juneteenth, How Is It Celebrated, and Why Does It Matter? By JAMEELAH NASHEED for Teen Vogue
Article highlight: Written in a way that is easy to read and relatable for older students
Source: It is incredible how Teen Vogue has re-invented their image and become a force for good in the teen world.
#2) Video: The History Of Juneteenth, A Glorious Celebration Of Black Independence Day From Taryn Finley, editor of HuffPost’s Black Voices
Video highlight: Same as #1. Relatable for teen audiences.
Source: HuffPost’s Black Voices was started in 2011 to “focus on current events and cultural trends from a black perspective, covering a broad range of topics — from presidential politics to pop culture, from money and beauty to sports, music, fashion, books, and parenting. Featuring dynamic storytelling, comprehensive curation, investigative reporting, and real-time opinion, BlackVoices will spotlight the best and brightest black thinkers, writers, and cultural game changers with the goal of making issues important to the black community part of the national conversation, because these are issues that matter to everyone.”
Any issues related to race or racial injustice are difficult topics to talk about. People avoid them for fear of stepping in landmines, accidentally offending, or feeling awkward and uncomfortable. At Co-CreatED, we are by no means experts at talking about these things. However, we do believe that avoiding the hard topics only widens the divides between people, and that silence can be mistaken for agreement.
So if anything we write on these areas comes across the wrong way, please talk to us about it. We are coming from a place of wanting equity in the world and trying our best to face the issues head on. We are human, we are imperfect, and we are learning as we go. We invite you to learn with us as we work to make education a more humanizing and equitable place for all students, including shining a light on the more difficult parts of our country's history.
Happy Juneteenth everyone. May we celebrate how far we've come, recognize how far we still have to go, and have the courage to take steps toward progress every chance we get.