Juneteenth is an annual celebration of independence and freedom for the African-American community. Representing the abolition of slavery in the United States, the holiday commemorates Black history and is often observed through family gatherings, dance, art, and food. Juneteenth continues to represent the journey of African-Americans in the United States, offering a chance to reflect on the history of ancestors and the oppression they overcame, as well as celebrating culture today.
What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth is symbolic of the day when enslaved people in Texas were informed of their freedom. This came two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1963, which declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free". On June 19, 1865, slaves in Galveston, Texas were given the news of their freedom by Union soldiers who shared that their current enslavement was illegal, and had been for the previous two and a half years. Slavery was formally abolished in the United States when the 13th Amendment was ratified in December of 1965.
Juneteenth is the oldest and largest annual holiday of the celebration of the end of slavery in the United States, and today commemorates freedom, education, and advancement.
How is Juneteenth celebrated and why is it important?
Juneteenth has represented both freedom and independence for African-Americans from slavery in the United States, as well as the chance to celebrate milestones of change and culture. The holiday is celebrated through a myriad of festivities from family gatherings, parades, and cookouts, where food is integral to bringing communities together to celebrate liberation and progress. The holiday is fueled by Southern comfort food, which families and friends enjoy together, the congregation itself a highlight of the day.
In celebrating all of the milestones of change that have occurred for the Black community over the years, Juneteenth is a great time to collectively reflect on on both the past history, by remembering those who were enslaved, and to reflect on present times, where racial inequality and inequities are still present and affecting the Black community.
This Juneteenth is a chance for everyone to not only reflect on America’s past history, but to learn more as a country about how racism still affects our everyday lives.
How is EAT Club celebrating?
In support of this important message of freedom, education, and equality for all, Juneteenth is a paid day off for all EAT Club employees this year. Employees are being encouraged to spend their day honoring this important movement in some way, either personally by learning more, socially through activism, or economically through patronizing Black-owned businesses. Below are some resources you may find helpful in your efforts.
- Black-owned restaurants in LA
- Black-owned businesses in LA
- Black-owned restaurants in the Bay Area
- Black-owned Etsy shops
- Podcasts on race
- Movies on race
- Books on race
* We were unable to find a comprehensive list of Black-owned Bay Area businesses - if you find one please post it in the comments!