latest news Juneteenth: Why this Year’s Celebration Is More Important Than Ever

Written by
Terra Hall, Media Advocacy Manager
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Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day and Cel-Liberation Day, is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. It is celebrated annually on June 19.  

Today, for the first time, the American Heart Association closed its offices to observe Juneteenth. Leadership encouraged staff to use the day to serve and support organizations working on racial justice and to reflect on and learn more about black history. By educating ourselves on racial injustices and inequities, we can better guide the work we do each day.

We also wanted to extend this opportunity to our advocates. The below resources may help you as you reflect, learn and participate in efforts to dismantle systemic racism and stand up for racial justice. 

Learn and Reflect 

Juneteenth Resources

Resources about Racial Inequalities and Injustice 

  • The 1619 Project is a multi-episode podcast developed by The New York Times Magazine. It examines the legacy of slavery in the United States, spanning from the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Virginia in 1619 to present day struggles black Americans face as a result of the systemic racism embedded by slavery. You can listen to it at The New York Times website and on third party apps such as Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher and the like.
  • This document, developed and maintained by Unicorn Riot, The Okra Project and Project Motherpath, identifies resources about what it means to be anti-racist. If you use this site or share it, please consider supporting the organizations that maintain it.
  • Check out the New York Times bestsellers list for nonfiction works. Many of the books on this list deal with race in America. Consider reading some of them and then joining in discussions online and in-person to put what you learn into action.
  • From “LA97” and “I Am Not Your Negro” to “Boyz N the Hood” and “Do the Right Thing,” there are countless films and documentaries made to depict race in America. “30+ Films You Need to Watch About Race in America” is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is a good place to start.

Serve and Participate

Juneteenth is also a time to volunteer or participate in activities (in-person adhering to CDC guidelines or virtually) in your community. Here are just a few ways to lend a hand (since COVID-19 is still prevalent, choose volunteer opportunities that feel safe to you):

  • Study issues in your community and read about different perspectives from leaders in under-resourced areas.
  • Get to know and support organizations that focus on racial justice and the black community in your community or state. Attend one of their (virtual) meetings or events and consider making a donation. 
  • Become a member of your local NAACP branch ($30 or less annually) or connect with your local affiliate of the National Urban League
  • Find a #SixNineteen event led by the Movement for Black Lives in your community. 
  • Join the NAACP’s Juneteenth Black Family reunion to honor the lives we’ve lost this year and uplift our collective movement for civil rights. Sign up for the webcast here.
  • If you can, share your learning and/or service experiences with your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues.

At Voices for Healthy Kids, advocating for health equity is our mission. We are committed to dismantling racist systems that do not benefit all children and their families. Our ultimate goal is to collaborate with organizations working for racial justice so that together we can make each day healthier for all children.