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Juneteenth: Freedom in 2024

Updated: Jun 11


I recently joined a planning meeting with two partners and when asked which team members could support our Juneteenth event, one brother responded firmly, "I am free! I am NOT working on that day!". I was so tickled and proud of his response, I couldn't do anything but affirmed him and say, "I am also NOT working on that day. The Juneteenth celebration is that following weekend."


So, what are WE doing for Juneteenth? Resting.

...well, most of us that is.


On June 19th, I will be speaking at the Ubuntu Climate Initiative's Juneteenth Taste of Freedom Virtual Indaba.



Why? If Juneteenth is about Freedom and celebrating the day some of our ancestors received news about emancipation, why are you 'working'?


I will let Baba Ralph interject for a moment,


“In this country men can be born and live well and die without ever having to feel much of what makes their ease possible, just because so much is buried”― Ralph Ellison, Juneteenth

If we remain comfortable with simple celebrations on a day that marked 'freedom' for enslaved Africans in the Americas, we are destined to repeat his-story. The time my comrades and I will carve out to share what it truly means to have a taste of freedom and the work that is STILL needed to actualize the word will be well spent.


As you lounge, celebrate, attend brunches or light a candle and pour libation to those known and unknown ancestors, tune in at 10:00amET HERE to uncover some of what should be unearthed for true liberation!!


OH...DON'T GET ME WRONG, THE BSI TEAM IS STILL CELEBRATING TOO!!


June 21-23 we will be at the largest Juneteenth event in the Southeastern USA! Come by our booth to learn about Historic Black Townships and Present Black Communities; Participate in hands on demonstrations by members of our network on Waste, Agriculture, and Alternative Energy and our Electric Black Futures partnership with EV Noire and SACE; grab some Black and Green swag; AND just vibe with us...we have scheduled jam sessions to just listen to music and build.


WAYS TO CELEBRATE JUNETEENTH


REST

Be still. Rest. Pour libation before you hydrate/partake.

*In African cultures and African traditional religions the ritual of pouring libation is an essential ceremonial tradition and a way of giving homage to the ancestors. Ancestors are not only respected in such cultures, but also invited to participate in all public functions (as are also the gods and God).


Honor our Ancestors

Reach out to your oldest living relative and go sit at their feet. Ask them about their life and record the names (photos if available) of family members, what they were like, things they liked to do, eat, ways they contributed to the family, community and their country. No contribution is to small...you are here because of them!


Create a space to honor those ancestors by simply adding their pictures to a wall in your home OR placing their names in a picture frame near your dinner table so you can call their names out when you and other family members break bread. Find a way to honor them in a simple, natural way.


Deepen your spiritual work and create an ancestral alter.


Make a commitment to honor their lives, your parent's lives, yours and those yet to come.


How are you challenging people, policies or practices that oppress our community? What steps can you take to further self-sufficiency in your home? In your community?


"Blood debts must be repaid in blood." - Bobby E. Wright
"There is no justice without a complete, equivalent correction. Anything less is an insult and disservice to those who were victimized by miscarriages of justice. And it should go without saying that the greater the miscarriage the greater the insult and disservice. This is Ma'at. Warriors must remember that one of the most important principles of Ma'at is balance. Accordingly, balance requires a return to order when imbalance occurs. Warriors enforce Ma'at. They are the karma that has been sent to make whatever corrections are needed for our people to receive justice and return to Ma'at. And that return does not conform to other's desire to escape punishment. It does not return with us praying for their forgiveness and our forgetfulness. Lest we forget, these barbarians murdered hundreds of millions of innocent Afrikans in cold blood in order to steal our land and bludgeon the rest of us into a religious submission to their twisted, dehumanized, despiritualized, mentacidal, anti-Afrikan interpretation of reality. Nana Bobby E. Wright reminded us that "blood debts must be repaid in blood." Nothing else will suffice if order is to be returned. The Maafa, yurugu's ongoing acts of genocide, will not cease until justice occurs. And justice requires a return of order by no less than an equivalent reciprocity." - Excerpt from Nyansasem Volume 2, Mwalimu K. B. Baruti

Attend local Juneteenth events

Everyone did NOT get the news of emancipation on June 19, some communities deep in the south found out YEARS later on different days and in different seasons. As we celebrate the National Holiday Juneteenth, recognize other communities in rural areas may have an April emancipation celebration. As we approach the 19th of June, know that many cities and community organizations host Juneteenth events!

Do a quick Google search for [your city] + Juneteenth to find events near you. Note, many of these celebrations have been going on for years and years and still are driven by volunteers. If you are not of Afrikan descent, this is a great opportunity to contribute resources and express authentic condolences for the role your community played and continues to play.


Join BSI for three days in Atlanta for immersive workshops that explore climate solutions from an Afrikan-centered framework, demonstrations and good vibes.

 

SIGN THIS PETITION

We must act now! In Commemoration of Juneteenth 2024, we call on the Biden Harris Administration to recognize the historical significance of these communities by providing preservation protections for them. Furthermore, The Administration to allocate adequate funding so that these areas can be equipped with basic amenities such as running water, electricity and sanitation services.Let us honor the legacy left behind by those who were emancipated from enslavement by ensuring their dreams are realized in their descendants' lives today. Please sign this petition endorsing our resolution urging protection and funding for Freedmen's Settlement Communities.




From eating red foods to promoting activism, Juneteenth traditions pay tribute to the liberation of America's enslaved Africans.


Visit a museum or cultural site

Immerse yourself in African history and Black culture. The Association of African American Museums has a national directory of African American Museums and affiliate institutions and consider finding a local museum near you. The National Museum of African-American History in Washington, DC has online resources, videos and artifacts about Juneteenth if you cannot visit in person.

 

Support Black organizations and individuals in your community

Juneteenth is a great opportunity to show solidarity by volunteering your time and/or resources to support Black community members and direct funds/investments to local Black-led organizations.

 

EXPAND YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF JUNETEENTH


Books

In Juneteenth, Ralph Ellison evokes the rhythms of jazz and gospel and ordinary speech to tell a powerful tale of a prodigal son in the twentieth century. With the aid of Ellison’s widow, Fanny, his literary executor, John Callahan, has edited this magnificent novel at the center of Ralph Ellison’s forty-year work in progress — its author’s abiding testament to the country he so loved and to its many unfinished tasks.


Weaving together American history, dramatic family chronicle, and searing episodes of memoir, Annette Gordon- Reed’s On Juneteenth provides a historian’s view of the country’s long road to Juneteenth, recounting both its origins in Texas and the enormous hardships that African-Americans have endured in the century since, from Reconstruction through Jim Crow and beyond.


An engaging way to introduce the history of slavery and freedom to children in words they can understand. Ms. Opal highlights the celebration of Juneteenth and the importance of commemorating this milestone all across America.


Mazie is ready to celebrate liberty. She is ready to celebrate freedom. She is ready to celebrate a great day in American history. The day her ancestors were no longer slaves. Mazie remembers the struggles and the triumph, as she gets ready to celebrate Juneteenth.


Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. SaadMe and White Supremacy leads readers through a journey of understanding their white privilege and participation in white supremacy, so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on Black, Indigenous and People of Color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.


Freedom has not arrived. The New Jim Crow unearths slavery by a new name. This book is a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans enslaved/locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status — denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement.


In his new book, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., one of our leading chroniclers of the African-American experience, seeks to answer that question in a history that moves from the Reconstruction Era to the “nadir” of the African-American experience under Jim Crow, through to World War I and the Harlem Renaissance.


Films

Sankofa (Amharic: ሳንኮፋ) is a 1993 Ethiopian-produced drama film directed by Haile Gerima centered on the European enslavement trade/MAAFA aka transAtlantic enslavement trade. The New York Times said, "Gerima’s poetic and precisely detailed film takes its audience into its heroine’s life and mind as her moral sense is challenged and changed...” “...No viewer can avoid the discomforting questions the film so eloquently raises.” Click the link in the title here and find a guide for watching and understanding the film with family and friends for a present day discussion.


Juneteenth Jamboree illuminates the significance of the Juneteenth holiday and shares stories about black culture and history. You can view this year’s episodes and an archive of past years for free through the PBS website.


Miss Juneteenth is a soulful journey of a determined woman who takes on the burden of representing history, and generations of black women, while standing tall despite her own shortcomings as she marches, step by step, toward self-realization.

Noted scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. recounts the full trajectory of African-American history in this six-part series. The series explores the evolution of the African-American people, as well as the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives they developed — forging their own history, culture and society against unimaginable odds.

When the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1865, former slaves expected freedom for the rest of their lives, as it ruled slavery of any kind unlawful. However, Director Ava Duvernay explores a loophole, which deems a form of slavery acceptable in the legal form of criminal punishment. Duvernay’s documentary “13th” takes a well-informed look at this loophole and administers a researched look at the American incarceration system and how it contributes to systemic racism today.

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