Celebrating Juneteenth

Though many of us have long known July 4th as Independence Day, it was really only the celebration of freedom for white men in 1776.

It wasn't until almost a hundred years later (!!) on June 19th, 1865, when federal troops arrived in Galveston, TX, to ensure that all enslaved people were freed  which came two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. In a smart word mashup (our next favorite word trick after alliteration), June 19th was dubbed Juneteenth and honors the end to slavery in the U.S. (You can find a more in-depth history here and if you're looking for a good watch on it, we recommend this episode of #BlackAF on Netflix). 

In 1980, Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday, and just this week, a bill was passed making Juneteenth a federal holiday (a big win!!). While it just became more widely covered in the last few years, African-Americans have been celebrating this important day since the 1800s. 

Because we love a reason to celebrate, and this is a super important one, we did some reading on all the things that go into a Juneteenth celebration. Like any party, there are key ingredients that make it great: people (the more the merrier), music (turn it up), and good food and drink. You'll often find a focus on red food and drinks at a Juneteenth party  a tradition that symbolizes the blood of enslaved African-Americans that was shed (more on that here). If you're planning a celebration yourself, here are some ideas for throwing a Juneteenth party.  

While declaring Juneteenth a national holiday is much to celebrate, it's also a moment to reflect on how much work still needs to be done.