Words by Henry Louis Gates, Jr for The Root & PBS, 2013.
“Of all Emancipation Day observances, Juneteenth falls closest to the summer solstice (this Friday, June 21), the longest day of the year, when the sun, at its zenith, defies the darkness in every state, including those once shadowed by slavery. By choosing to celebrate the last place in the South that freedom touched — reflecting the mystical glow of history and lore, memory and myth, as Ralph Ellison evoked in his posthumous novel, Juneteenth — we remember the shining promise of emancipation, along with the bloody path America took by delaying it and deferring fulfillment of those simple, unanticipated words in Gen. Granger’s original order No. 3: that “This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves.” My hope this Juneteenth is that we never forget it.”
Juneteenth, now a federal holiday, is a day for deep reflection and celebration. The Alchemist’s Kitchen celebrates a commitment to justice, continuous learning & improvement, and all anti-racist work and movement. Let us (also) not glaze over the work that needs to be done.
Below are some actionable steps you might like to explore, celebrate, and honor during this time!
History.com also has an informative article (also titled “What is Juneteenth” on their Website.
Juneteenth celebrations that honor the freedom of the last enslaved people of African descent take place across New York City. Crucially, it is important to note that while Juneteenth has been celebrated in the Sound & Midwest, Juneteenth has not been recognized as a federal holiday until 2021. Yeah, we know…
June 19, doors open 6:30 pm, Lena Horne Bandshell, 9th Street & Prospect Park West, Prospect Park
This concert, presented in collaboration with the Robert Randolph Foundation—which holds a few other Juneteenth events under the Unityfest banner—will amplify the stories of Black people through music and storytelling. With a growing lineup of performers including Tye Tribbett, Israel Houghton, and Mali Music, the show is a cool way to spend a warm summer night.
June 19, 11 am to 7 pm, 200 Eastern Pkwy., Prospect Heights
Brooklyn Museum has a packed day of activities celebrating Black liberation, self-expression, community, and creativity. Good Company Bike Club will lead a Freedom Ride, guiding participants to borough landmarks significant to the Black community. There will be Egyptian-inspired yoga classes, poetry, drop-in family-fun activities such as art-making, a reading corner, a sound bath, and dance performances.
June 19, noon to 7 pm, Roy Wilkins Park, Merrick and Baisley Boulevards, St. Albans
Taking place in Roy Wilkins Park, a popular spot for borough events, Juneteenth in Queens features workshops, food and clothing vendors, and interactive family fun. A series of virtual happenings, including a town hall meeting on reparations in the Black community, leads up to the day. On Sunday at the park, you’ll find wellness workshops and vendors, a Black beauty bazaar, Black Fashion Row, an art exhibit and market, and a kids’ clubhouse.
June 19, 11am–4pm, Pelham Bay Park
Come out to Pelham Bay Park for a day honoring family and unity. The programming, put on by a number of local arts and events organizations, features wellness activities such as yoga and Zumba as well as live performances and interactive activities for the kids.
A powerful way to honor Juneteenth is to support Black Owned Businesses and donate (if you can) to racial justice organizations that have fought for Black Americans.
Educating yourself about Juneteenth is a great first step. Equally so, learning about Black Lives & communities is so so important. Here are some of our favorites:
Antiracism Center: Twitter
“America’s Racial Contract is Killing Us” by Adam Serwer (Atlantic, May 8th, 2020)
“Who Gets to Be Afraid in America?” by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi (Atlantic, May 12, 2020)
“The Intersectionality Wars” by Jane Coaston (Vox, May 29th, 2019)
A reminder that true wellness must include the safety of all Black & BIPOC members of our community. If you have other resources or organizations to donate to, please comment below so that this can be a collaborative place to learn.
This article includes references & updates from our Anti-Racism Resource List. A very big thank you to all the contributors.
Sourced from: The Team at The Alchemist’s Kitchen, Cara Kovacs by way of Camellia Dao-Ling (Patreon: www.patreon.com/wholesoul) / Resource Guide from Evanston Black Lives Matter Facebook Group, @livedexperiencecounsel, @lordfelix, @southasians4blacklives, Anti-Racism Resources for White People compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein in May 2020, Google Doc here, Evanston Public Library Resource List). We at The Alchemist’s Kitchen are not experts and encourage you to check out the many knowledgeable folks on this list.
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