What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is a holiday that marks the end of slavery in the United States. While the Emancipation Proclamation (which was delivered over two years prior) is most associated with the abolition of slavery, the historical practice was not fully ended until June 19th, 1865. The name is a result of combining “June” and “Nineteenth”. For many people, Juneteenth is regarded as America’s second Independence Day, marking legal freedom for the entirety of this nation’s civilians.

How To Celebrate Juneteenth?

While Juneteenth has been an annual celebration since 1865, the ways in which this holiday is honored have evolved over the years. One of the first major developments was in 1872, when a group of former slaves purchased 10 acres of land in Houston, Texas. This land has since become the site of Emancipation Park, which hosts annual holiday gatherings. Since then, the holiday has taken on multiple forms of celebrations -- including parades, barbecues, musical festivals, as well as more intimate parties. With a multitude of ways to honor this holiday, you’re sure to find one that works well for you and your loved ones. Read on for a few recommendations on how to celebrate Juneteenth this year.

Learn about Black History and Contributions 

African-Americans have always played a vital role in American society, contributing to some of the most prominent aspects of our culture. Juneteenth is both a celebration and reflection. Taking the time to educate yourself and your family on Black history is a brilliant way to honor this important day of freedom. And it can be fun! Whatever your interest -- arts, sports, architecture, education, etc -- African-Americans have undoubtedly paved the way in shaping these vital pieces of our culture. If you’re unsure where to begin, take a look at Juneteenth.com for information and inspiration.

Donate and Support

Gifts are an integral part of many holidays, so why not include that sense of generosity with Juneteenth? Make a donation to a charity that supports Black communities through education, arts, health, and development. You can also use this day to purchase from your favorite local stores and restaurants as well! Whether you’re wanting to enjoy a holiday meal, expand your personal library, or do a bit of online shopping, there are plenty of ways to support African-American businesses in New York City. 

Create Celebratory Signs and Art

Decorations are a major part of any holiday celebration, as well as a wonderful indoor activity for the whole family. Teach your children about Juneteenth and Black contributions to America, while engaging in arts and crafts! Festive banners, window art, and decorations are a simple way to bring the family together while learning more about this important day of freedom.

Bring People Together

Community is so needed during this time, and what better way to connect with loved ones than a Juneteenth celebration? Whether you’re choosing to gather in real life while social distancing, or to host digital festivities, taking the time to connect with friends and family is an excellent way to honor this important holiday.