Juneteenth, a newly recognized national holiday, is in a couple of days. While some Black Americans have celebrated this day for generations, others of us are still wondering whether/how to celebrate or recognize this day and what it is all about.
Juneteenth celebrates the end of enslavement in this nation, and there are plenty of reasons for all Americans to celebrate this monumental step towards a more just and free society.
We rightly draw attention to the harm and injustice perpetrated against BIPOC for hundreds of years. But Juneteenth draws attention to a different aspect of African American history. This day draws attention to the reasons to rejoice in the love and beauty and resilience of an ongoing community that did not simply survive but—amidst oppression and degradation and bigotry—brought forth writers and thinkers and preachers and leaders and musicians and artists who continue to shape and change our world.
The story of Black America is a story of tragedy and celebration, injustice and freedom, despair and longing and resilience and beauty. Juneteenth is a day for all Americans to celebrate that history and the legacy of a community shaped and formed by pain and joy, who know how to grieve loss and celebrate life, who know how to persevere through suffering with hope and love.
More with Amy Julia:
- On Juneteenth, Beyond Anti-Racism
- I Didn’t Know About Juneteenth…
- S5 E12 | Becoming a Race-Wise Family with Helen Lee
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