How are we supposed to celebrate Juneteenth?
Happy Friday ZORA fam,
Let’s get right into it. Juneteenth is officially a federal holiday but… is that a good thing? It’s a nice gesture to have national recognition for a day with incredible significance to Black folks but is that all this is, a gesture?
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Will the meaning of the Juneteenth be lost now that all of America observes it? Right now, it’s a special day to celebrate Blackness and freedom and push for equality. Will it become, at best, a day off to browse sales at the local mall or, at worst, a day where non-Black people feel free to co-opt Black culture?
As Medium writer Renee Nishawn Scott shares in her recent piece, “Juneteenth Is Not for Everyone,” now that Juneteenth is a national holiday, we should be careful about how we celebrate.
Juneteenth is not for everyone and should not be purported to be as such. The continual triumph and excellence in spite of perpetual persecution of all Black people in the United States should absolutely be celebrated, but it should not be done by co-opting an African American cultural celebration.
No matter what meaning others may try to ascribe to Juneteenth, it will always be a day Black Americans celebrate the emancipation of our ancestors from slavery all across the country. June 19th is more than just a holiday, it is a reminder that freedom is always worth fighting for and celebrating and, while national recognition is a step in a good direction, the fight for freedom and equality is far from over.
— Jolie A. Doggett
Senior editor, Multicultural Content, Medium and Senior Platform Editor, ZORA
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