Most Americans know about July 4th, the day that the United States of America gained independence from England. But many people do not know as much about Juneteenth, also known as Black Independence Day, where we celebrate the end of slavery June 19th each year. Juneteenth is an important holiday to celebrate the richness of the black community while also bringing awareness to issues that affect the community such as police brutality, racism, inner-city violence, and mass incarceration. However, if you have not celebrated Juneteenth growing up, it might be hard for you to know where to start. This is a compilation of ways that you can celebrate Juneteenth with your family:
Read Books About Juneteenth
Your children are never too young to know about the meaning behind this historic holiday. Juneteenth for Mazie is a great book for younger children that tells the story of a young girl who celebrates the end of slavery. If you have an older child, Come Juneteenth is a better choice for middle and high schoolers who can read it in advance in anticipation of the holiday. Either way, reading and discussing books about the holiday is a great way to teach your kids about their history.
It is difficult to find a kid-friendly movie that focuses on black freedom. There aren’t many movies that focus on slavery or Juneteenth for kids, but there are great movies that focus on the Civil Rights Movement. Our Friend, Martin is an animated movie that focuses on the positive contributions that Martin Luther King Jr. made to the Civil Rights Movement and society that you can watch on YouTube. For older kids, Hidden Figures is a great movie that focuses on the Civil Rights Movement that you can catch on OnDemand. The Hate U Give is also a great movie geared toward older kids that focuses on a teenager whose friend is a victim of police brutality.
Have a Barbecue
One of the best ways to celebrate summer is by taking out the grill and having a laid-back barbecue. All you have to do is decorate the backyard with the Pan-African flag for an extra touch and then you can have a fun day outdoors with your family and a few close friends. To make your Juneteenth barbecue legendary, serve some traditional family recipes or even do a potluck with close friends, dress in red, black and green, and play some games that focus on Black History, such as Black Jeopardy or Black Card Revoked.
Have a Picnic in the Park
If you are more introverted, like me, you would love to go to the park to celebrate the historic holiday. Layout a blanket (for bonus points: a giant Pan-African flag) and pack a picnic lunch. You can also purchase takeout from a black-owned business for support. Otherwise, a picnic is a great way to eat, play music, play card games, and enjoy nature!
One of the best ways to celebrate Juneteeth is to support the black community. While Juneteenth is not a traditional holiday to buy gifts like Christmas or Kwanzaa, it is a perfect opportunity for you to purchase a gift from your kid that is from a black-owned business. Along with books written by black authors, other great options include Ikuzi Dolls, a Black-Owned company that sells dolls and backpacks from We Buy Black. This way, your children can see positive images of children who look just like them!
Dress The Part
There are many different ways to dress the part for this historic holiday. You can choose to wear anything from all black to the colors of the Pan-African flag, red, black, and green, to Afrocentric patterns and accessories. But you can take it up a notch by wearing attire from a black-owned business dedicated to the holiday. This shirt from Melanin Apparel is dedicated to the holiday. You can also dress your kids the part as well. This Black Boy Joy shirt from Fab Fly Fancy and this Brown Skin Girl shirt from Diyanu is perfect for young black children!
Extended Family Photoshoot
If you didn’t take a picture with your entire family before, now is a great time to do a photoshoot with the entire family. Juneteenth is a perfect day to celebrate the entire family, meaning celebrating mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, great-aunts, great-uncles, cousins, and more! You can also do multiple generations photoshoot with your grandmother, mother, you, and your daughter. Even if you have a small family, you can still take an Afrocentric shoot with you and your kids.
There are lots of ways to celebrate Juneteenth with your family. Did you ever celebrate Juneteenth before? How do you plan on celebrating Juneteenth with your family? Write in the comments below.
Talk to you again soon!