Pay reparations. Honor the flag + history. Attend rallies. Advocate for laws and bills. Celebrate Black culture and life.
“The white man will try to satisfy us with symbolic victories rather than economic equity and real justice.”Malcom X
On Thursday, June 17, President Joe Biden signed a bill establishing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day – a US federal holiday commemorating the historic end of slavery in the United States.
Yet, what does recognizing Juneteenth as a Federal Holiday do, if we cannot teach about it in schools? If Black people are not paid reparations for slavery? If bills like the George Floyd Act and For the People acts are not being passed?
Pay reparations to Black People.
In 2020, the average white family roughly has 10 times the amount of wealth compared to the average Black family, this racial wealth gap is similar to the gap in 1968.
Making the American Dream an equitable reality requires the same U.S Government that denied wealth to Black people to restore this delayed wealth in the form of reparations. The government should provide capital and resources to help Black individuals be less vulnerable to economic shocks and help them to build inheritable wealth over the generations.
If you have the money to pay for brunch, to go shopping, and more, you should also try to fulfill community requests and help Black people survive.
You can send money to Black people’s Cashapps, GoFundMes, & Venmos. These can be found through your local community request and mutual aid IG accounts.
Call or write your representatives and Senators in Congress about H.R. 40 (116th): Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act.
Rallies + Events
- Juneteenth NY Celebration: Herbert Von King Park, Brooklyn @ 9am
- “Summer of Soul Screening”: Marcus Garvey Park, Harlem @ 5pm
- Leimert Park Rising Juneteenth Commemoration: Leimert Park Village @ 12pm
- Freedom day Walk & Celebration: Loma Alta Park, Altadena @ 9am
- Juneteenth Bike Ride: Sadnlot Southeast @ 10:30am
- Million Moe March: Black Lives Matter Plaza @ 2pm
- Concert in the Park: Hunters Glen Park @ 6:30pm
- 42nd Annual Al Edwards Juneteenth Celebration: front lawn of Ashton Villa @ 10am
The Juneteenth Flag & History
On June 19, 1865, federal troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas to announce that over 250,000 were free, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. A year later, freed people in Texas celebrated ‘Jubilee Day’ on June 19th.
In 1997, the flag was created by activist Ben Haith, founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundations (NJCF). Illustrator Lisa Jeanne Graf refined the design and in 2000, the flag was first hoisted at the Roxbury Heritage State park in Boston by Haith.
The white star represents Texas, the Lone Star State, the place where Union Army Major General Gordon Granger read out loud: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” Additionally, the star represents the freedom of African Americans in all 50 states today.
The burst surrounding the star is inspired by a nova, an astronomical event that causes the appearance of a bright, new star. This represents a new beginning for the African Americans of Galveston, Texas and throughout the country.
The arc represents a horizon, promising new opportunities for Black Americans.
The colors of the flag: red, white and blue, echo the colors of the American flag, this symbolizes that all former slaves and their descendants became American citizens under the law
The ‘Grandmother of Juneteenth’
94 year old Opal Lee has been advocating for years to get Juneteenth recognized as a federal holiday. Lee, who is a retired educator, makes a symbolic two and a half mile walk each year on Juneteenth, this distance honors the two and a half years it took for news of freedom to reach all enslaved people in the U.S.
“You know, what I want those celebrating in other states to understand is that Juneteenth, in my estimation, should be a unifier. First of all, slaves did not free themselves. It took abolitionists and Quakers and all kinds of folks to help and lobby to get the slaves freed. … I truly believe that we can do so much more together rather than apart.” Lee said in an interview with Dianca London for Shondaland.
Advocate for these Laws + Bills in Circulation.
Contact your representatives to advocate for these bills through direct lobbying; educate, inform, and communicate your reasoning to your representative after you’ve done thorough Research.
John Lewis Voting Rights Act prohibits discriminatory voting practices and voter suppression by ensuring equal minority voting rights and removing many barrier to voting.
George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is a police reform bill aiming to combat systemic racism and police brutality by banning certain police techniques such as chokeholds, and improving police training.
The Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act makes lynching a federal hate crime, the first time in U.S. history.
For the People Act: expands voting rights, changes campaign finance laws to reduce the influence of money in politics, limit partisan gerrymandering, and create new ethics rules for federal officeholders.
Here’s how you can take action in your school against the laws banning critical race theory.
Check out Diversify Our Narrative for petitions to sign and other resources to push for reform within school curriculum.
Learn the key principles of Critical Race Theory and help educate your peers.
Find Critical Race Theory toolkits to incorporate into your school’s curriculum.
Email your teachers and administrators to make Race Studies more visible in your learning community.
Celebrate Juneteenth by DONATING AND LEARNING!
ORGANIZATIONS FOCUSING ON REPARATIONS AND H.R. 40
- @NATIONALNCOBRA: National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America
- @REPARATIONSFUND: “Building out the white lane of the reparations movement”
- @MVMNT4BLKLIVES: Boosting reparations initiatives, link to collective fund called REPARATIONS MONDAY
BOOKS TO read:
- Four Hundred Souls – Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain
- Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi
- The Autobiography of Malcom X – as told my Alex Haley
- Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Huston
- Dear Martin – Nic Stone
- Possessing the Secret of Joy – Alice Walker
Support Black owned businesses by using EatOkra to find black-owned restaurants or go to supportblackowned.com to find businesses near you.