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4 Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Juneteenth with Your Kids

Juneteenth is a celebration of the day in 1865 when word of Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation — which had been signed two years prior and freed all enslaved people — made its way to Texas.

*Featured image from the annual Juneteenth celebration at the Eiteljorg.

A combination of the words “June” and “Nineteenth,” Juneteenth was first made an official Texas state holiday in 1979, but since then, people have begun to honor the day (also called Emancipation Day) all around the United States.

 

Juneteenth is a day for African Americans to honor their culture and history, as well as a day for non-Blacks to learn more about this significant day in our country, including why it took over two years for the news to get to Texas and how freed slaves were treated as a result. Above all, it’s a day meant for self-reflection, understanding the truths of the past and the realities of the present.

Here are some ideas for ways to celebrate Juneteenth with your family:

Read and Learn About Juneteenth as a Family

Celebrating this holiday is only meaningful if you understand what’s being celebrated. Start off by checking out some of the many books that have been written about this holiday and discuss them as a family! If you can’t get your hands on these before June 19, there’s a good chance you can listen to readalongs of some of these on YouTube.

Picture Books & Young Readers

Chapter Books / Teens

Juneteenth for Mazie

Related: 40 Books to Help You Talk to Your Kids About Racism

Create a Juneteenth Feast

Red foods — a symbol of the resilience and ingenuity of enslaved people — are customary on a Juneteenth table. Strawberries, watermelon, red-colored juice, cherry pie, red velvet cake, sausages, hot dogs and barbecue are just some of the red-hued foods you can include in your feast. And don’t forget the soul food: fried chicken, collard greens, mac & cheese. Is your mouth watering yet? Let your kids help you make the menu and decorate the table, and then discuss the significance and history behind the meal you’re sharing.

Make Juneteenth Decorations

You can honor and learn more about this holiday through decor! Do research into where enslaved Blacks came from and honor those places by making a banner of African flags at home with construction paper. Or make your very own Juneteenth flag.

Juneteenth Flag

Visit a Virtual Juneteenth Celebration

Unfortunately, the pandemic has shuttered many in-person gatherings and festivals, including ones that were planned to celebrate Juneteenth. But fortunately, many Juneteenth celebrations have moved online, so you can celebrate virtually from anywhere in the country. Here are some of the virtual events happening this week:

Virtual Juneteenth, Eiteljorg

Check out the official Juneteenth website for more resources, history, ideas and more!

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