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Updated: Dec 3, 2021

What does freedom mean to you?

Juneteenth or Freedom Day is a holiday to celebrate the emancipation or free-ing of "the last" enslaved folks. A whole two years after the Emancipation Proclamation which legally abolished slavery in 1863, Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce the end of the war and slavery in 1865. It is also important to note that many enslaved people were liberating themselves, long before they were formally freed.

My own family roots are in Texas and in Alabama. When I visited the Lynching Memorial in Montgomery, AL, I found the name of Charles Shipman, a Texas man who was lynched in Fort Bend County, Texas, in 1918 for arguing with the white owner of the plantation where he lived and worked. Just two years ago, my family hosted our family reunion in Houston, TX, and had several events in Galveston, TX. Talk about knowing your roots and walking on sacred (and HOT) grounds.

The question of freedom has long been a topic of conversation in the Black community. With each generation, we are faced with white supremacy that affects all of us. Nina Simone so infamously stated that "Freedom meant having no fear." Freedom has been described as a place where we can all be our authentic selves. Freedom has been described as something we are entitled to. It's being able to have joy freely, and love freely and to simply be free.

We are excited to honor our ancestors and celebrate building Black futures with a virtual Juneteenth celebration. It will be Saturday, June 20th (the day after, but it's a holiday, so we are going to celebrate all weekend long)!

Bring your friends, wear your Juneteenth fit, and let's celebrate #BlackJoy.

A huge thank you to all the lovely people that made this event happen, I can't wait to see news ways in which we can make memories and still build community and power, even virtually.

There are many ways that people are celebrating this year and here are a few ideas:

  • Have or attend virtual Juneteenth celebrations.

  • Attend a march, Direct Action, Caravan, or protest.

  • Buy from a Black-owned business or several.

  • Do some digging into Black history and culture through books, videos, interviews, films, art, and more.

  • Support or follow Black Creators on Social Media Networks.

  • Celebrate your Blackness, capture it with a picture.

Enjoy these Juneteenth Playlists, curated by Black women, just for you.

@grandmasterjo playlist

@Yahyahlia playlist's

As you celebrate Freedom Day all weekend long, remember that the fight for freedom is ongoing. There will always be ways to "free" or liberate ourselves. Today, Black folks are still experiencing state violence, voter suppression, redlining, food insecurity, and being funneled into the system that is the Prison Industrial Complex. Here is a great resource on how we can all work to abolish these systems and place the power into the hands of the people.

What does freedom look like to you? Share with us on the socials!

With lots of Black Joy ✊🏾,

Teryn Denae

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