Today is Juneteenth, a national holiday celebrating the actual—as opposed to formal—end of slavery in the United States. While the Emancipation Proclamation, which should have guaranteed freedom from slavery for all Black Americans—was issued in 1863, it wasn’t until two and a half years later, on June 19, 1865, that slavery was actually ended. In Galveston, Texas, Union troops showed up to ensure that the last slaves were freed from the South—large parts of which essentially ignored the Emancipation Proclamation—and the day became a time of celebration from that point onward.
Since 2021, Juneteenth has finally become a national holiday. That said, unless you’re a government employee, you might not automatically get the day off. If you do, there are plenty of picnics, parties, marches, concerts, and dazzling firework displays to enjoy all across the country. If not, you can still find ways to support the Black community and celebrate Juneteenth.
Here’s a quick rundown of just a few of the major events going on today:
Where to Celebrate in LA:
Rose in the Dark Juneteenth Jamboree– Free, but bring cash for the dancers.
Update: Some events in Chicago may be canceled due to Sunday’s targeted attack in Willowbrook, IL.
Juneteenth Jump-Off– Free
Check out a few Black LGBTQ+ folks changing the game in sports, entertainment, politics, and fashion that you should know.
White allies: how to decenter yourself during Juneteenth
If you’re invited to a party: be mindful of taking up space. This holiday is not about you, and while it’s perfectly fine to celebrate it, be aware that there are other, less performative things you can do to uplift and celebrate the Black community. Those things include:
Donating to great causes and organizations
Supporting personal reparation funds
Social media is a good place to start.
Supporting Black-owned businesses
A few great directories that can point you in the right direction are EatOkra, which has listings of thousands of Black-owned restaurants and bars in your city, as well as the city-specific Black Book LA and Black-Owned Brooklyn. Broader directories include the fantastic Black Woman Owned and Chez Nous.
Basically—as always with white allies—the best thing we can do is close our mouths and open our wallets. That’s all!