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Tags Posts tagged with "Racial Equality"

Racial Equality

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What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is a federal holiday celebrated on the nineteenth day of June to commemorate the emancipation of African Americans who were enslaved in the United States. It memorializes the end of slavery and has been observed annually since 1865. On June 17, 2021, President Biden signed into law Senate Bill 475, making Juneteenth a federally-recognized holiday.

Juneteenth is often celebrated under several names, including National Independence Day, Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Black Independence Day, and Juneteenth Independence Day.

Background and History

In early 1863, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared the freedom of more than three million slaves living in the Confederate states. More than two years later, on June 19, 1865, this news finally reached people living in Texas with the arrival of Union soldiers. When African Americans living in Texas learned that slavery had been abolished, they immediately began to celebrate with prayer, feasting, song, and dance — the foundation of Juneteenth.

The following year, on June 19, the first official Juneteenth celebrations took place in Texas. Original observances included prayer meetings and the singing of spirituals. Celebrants wore new clothes as a way of representing their newfound freedom. Juneteenth became a state holiday in Texas in 1980, and several other states followed suit. Within a few years, African Americans in many other states were celebrating the day as well, making it an annual tradition.

Ways to Celebrate

Today, many Juneteenth celebrations include prayer and religious services, speeches, educational events, family gatherings and picnics, and festivals with music, food, and dancing. In some places, demonstrations and parades commemorate the day. These celebrations often include ways to honor aspects of African American culture.

Is Celebrating Juneteenth Only for African Americans?

While Juneteenth has immense meaning for the African American community, there is value for every person — regardless of race, culture or background — to observe this holiday. A celebration of freedom for any group is a celebration of the ideals that we value as a nation.

Juneteenth is a day for African Americans to celebrate liberty, resilience, and strength. While participating and commemorating, all should pause to acknowledge the historical and somber importance of the day.

Why Should We Celebrate Juneteenth in the Workplace?

Celebrating Juneteenth in the workplace sends a strong message to African American employees, clients, and community members that the black experience, black history, and the struggles endured are worth acknowledging.

You can visit here for some ideas for planning a Juneteenth celebration.

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Image by ekavesh from Pixabay

Introduction: The Purpose of the Celebration
Black History month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S history. It is also an opportunity to educate the public about the rich history and culture of Black people, and to acknowledge and address the ongoing struggles for equality and justice.

Raising Awareness of Unintended Trauma
Black people in America are bombarded with the traumatic events of yesterday and today. Each tweet, news segment, video, and conversation can potentially reopen wounds caused by an innumerable number of current and historical events. These events can serve as vehicles for trauma, both direct and vicarious. Racial Trauma or Race-Based Traumatic Stress (RBST) is an important topic to explore. Research indicates that generational and historical trauma have a lasting impact on the health and well-being of Black Americans. The real impact of constant exposure to trauma must be recognized.

Black History Month is an opportunity to highlight the exceptional, the uplifting, the positive in African American culture. Focusing on the positive allows members of the Black community to celebrate without the heavy work of wading through the issues that still exist. Raising awareness around possible unintended trauma caused by sharing race-related content is essential. Things to consider:

  1. Think critically before sharing content of racial violence and consider the potential impact on members of the Black community.
  2. Become educated about why the effects of racial violence, racial inequities, and trauma can be triggering. Understand that it is not just about being sensitive but about considering the impact on others.
  3. Reflect on the context and consequences of sharing specific content; consider the purpose or intention of sharing.
  4. Use trigger warnings when sharing content about racial violence and provide resources for people who may be affected. Employ the principles of trauma-informed communication.
  5. Encourage dialogue and provide support for people affected by racial violence, racial inequities, and trauma.

Acknowledge Adversity, Celebrate Achievements
The historical and current achievements and contributions of Black Americans are profound — despite facing overwhelming adversity. Acknowledgement of difficult circumstances can serve to highlight the accomplishments made in spite of existing hardships. In doing so, it is crucial to remember that the end goal is the celebration.

Ways to Commemorate Black History Month in a Positive Way

  1. Visit museums that showcase Black history, culture, and contributions.
  2. Share online resources.
  3. Support Black owned businesses and restaurants.
  4. Attend local Black History Month events.
  5. Follow Black content creators and artists; purchase their art.
  6. Read works by Black authors.
  7. Acknowledge achievements year-round, in real-time as they occur. #beyond28

Dig Deeper — Learn More Through These Resources

Suggested Search Terms

  • Black Joy
  • Race-Based Traumatic Stress
  • Positive Ways to Celebrate Black History Month
  • Trauma-Free Blackness