Updated Jun 17, 2022 - Things to Do

Celebrate Juneteenth this weekend

Photo illustration of a person holding up a banner that reads "Juneteenth," a pair of folded hands, and a hundred dollar bill
Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Corbis, Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Last year, Juneteenth became the 11th federal holiday.

Flashback: June 19, 1865 was the day enslaved people in Galveston, Texas received the news Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier.

Context: President Joe Biden signed legislation into law last June in response to a summer of protests following George Floyd’s murder.

How to celebrate: The new federal holiday should be viewed as more than another day off from work, says Laquan Austion, founder of The Juneteenth Foundation based in Washington D.C. Here are some ways he says people can recognize Juneteenth:

  • Learn the history around the holiday. This is a moment to be introspective and ask "Why were people still enslaved in 1865? Why didn’t they get the information in Galveston?" he tells Axios.
  • Scholarships: Give to historically Black colleges and universities.
  • DEI: Push your company on diversity, equity and inclusion policies. "DEI is really sexy right now," he says. "We want to make sure that remains important. What are our companies’ plans?"
  • Celebrate: It's important to recognize that for some people, this is a "moment of solace and mourning," Austion says. But still, people should get out in their communities, go to events and use this as an "opportunity to learn and hear."

Zoom in: The country's largest Black majority city has several community organizations holding events this weekend.

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