How to Honor and Celebrate Juneteenth

How to Honor and Celebrate Juneteenth

06/12/2024

On Juneteenth, the Fortune Society is continuing our commitment to education, celebration, reflection and action.  

June 19, 1865 marks the day the last enslaved people learned of their freedom in Texas and has evolved into a day to honor Black history and culture, while also acknowledging how much progress is left to achieve.  In 2021, President Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday, making it the first federal holiday approved since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983. 

On June 20th 2022, and each Juneteenth going forward, our offices will be closed to fully stand in solidarity with the Black community and allow for proper acknowledgment of what this day means and the power it holds.  

Fortune has compiled some resources for further learning and exploration, as well as suggestions for events to participate in on this momentous day and ways to support the local Black community. 

Learn the History  

Ground yourself in the history of Juneteenth – which is sometimes referred to as our “country’s second independence day.” The National Museum of African American History and Culture provides a comprehensive account of the holiday’s history. The museum also offers a virtual tour of the museum’s Slavery and Freedom exhibition, highlighting stories behind objects related to emancipation in their collection.  

Though we celebrate July 4th as Independence Day, that day does not mark liberation for all. Rather, Juneteenth is a true day of freedom. Consider reading Frederick Douglass’ speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” from July 5, 1862 for more context and this article about liberation and freedom on Juneteenth.  

Center Black Voices and Stories 

Explore The Atlantic’s extensive project titled “Inheritance”: “a project about American history, Black life, and the resilience of memory” for more historical context and to examine the lasting legacy of slavery in the United States.  

Browse this collection of films that elevate stories of Black experiences – all of which are free for viewing through the IFC Center.  

Explore the Legacy of Slavery Today 

Celebrate Juneteenth by watching True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality. The film follows Stevenson’s efforts to create fairness in the criminal justice system and examines how racial injustice was born, how it has evolved and been protected, and how to push back against it in criminal justice.  

Attend an Event or Gathering 

Juneteenth NYC is hosting it’s 15th three-day celebration. Join in from June 13th through June 19th for a virtual summit, award ceremony, fashion show and concert in Brooklyn, NY. See the full schedule of events and register for the event here.

Register to attend Harlem Grown’s first annual Juneteenth Celebration on June 22, honoring the Black community and its cultural roots in Harlem. Enjoy a full day of family fun, including recipe sharing, educational activities and learn about Black and brown owned businesses in Harlem.

On Saturday, June 15, head to the Brooklyn Museum for Saddles and Soul: A Juneteenth Black Western Celebration. This full day of fun will feature art-making, line dancing to local DJ sets, food and more.

On June 19, gather at Roy Wilkins Park for Juneteenth in Queens to celebrate Black joy and liberation! Enjoy shopping, interactive fun, performances and more.

Support Black Communities  

Shopping or dining at a Black-owned business demonstrates support for economic and racial justice. Check out these community-compiled lists of Black-owned restaurants and eateries in New York City and Black-owned bookstores throughout the country 

Suggested Reading on Juneteenth and Anti-Racism 

  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
  • Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America by W. Caleb McDaniel
  • The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
  • Four Hundred Souls by Ibram X. Kendi
  • On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed
  • Rooted by Brea Baker
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Shoutin’ in the Fire by Danté Stewart 
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