In the upcoming month of June we celebrate Juneteenth, as a way to honor black people and our collective history in the US . That is why we are sharing different ways to celebrate and remember that African-Americans are integral to the fabric of our nation’s culture and society. After all if it were not for Black people, the US would not be the nation that it is today. If it were not for African-Americans we simple would not have the democracy that we live in. June 19th marks the day Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger read “General Order No. 3” to Black Americans who were slaves in Galveston, Texas. He officially marked their independence months after the Confederate army’s surrender. This event was two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth also known as Freedom Day, as well as Jubilee Day, or Emancipation Day is celebrated annually and is now a national holiday thanks to President Biden.

Even before it was a national holiday, the celebration has been significant and a part of the cultural heritage of Black people. While many large companies have rapidly added this holiday to their annual calendar and marketing efforts — from Nike to Apple Music — to many others, the meaning of the day is steeped in historical meaning. Because Black people continue to suffer from the terror of state and police violence and deep inequalities there is much work to be done to understand where we are in the present moment. Here are some ideas so that we may be better allies and to remind us that we must stand with Black people and not just celebrate Juneteenth as just one more day in Black history.

How To Be An Ally:

Educate yourself about Black history by reading some of these suggested books: The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones et. al , Stamped From The Beginning by Ibram X. Kenji, How The Word Is Passed by Clint Smith, and Women, Race and Class by Angela Y. Davis is only a partial list of the rich literature that cover African American history.

Speak up whenever you witness instances of racial discrimination and/or microaggressions against black people and firmly let the person know why they are wrong.

Teach your kids about the significance of Black history and why racial equality is important.

Honor and remember the names of those who have died at the hands of the police and share their stories via social media.

Write our California state legislators and ask that they consider the numerous reparations bills currently being considered in congress.

Your actions can make the difference in securing the health and well-being of our community.

Happy Juneteenth!

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