Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Juneteenth marks the effective end of slavery in the United States. Two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) enslaved people were finally freed. The Emancipation Proclamation didn’t instantly free all slaves. The Proclamation only applied to the places under Confederate control. Also, not to slave holding border states or rebel areas already under Union control. For this reason it took a very long time for the enslaved people to actually be freed, Juneteenth (1865).
The Juneteenth holiday celebrates the resilience, solidarity, and culture of the African- American community. This holiday is named for the combination of “June” and “Nineteenth”. Juneteenth is also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day. Approximately 250,000 African- American slaves learned that they were free. Once the enslaved people knew that they were free many of them went to find their family members. Some of the slaveowners were not too eager to part ways with what they considered as their property and as a result many of them were beaten and even killed. Although, Juneteenth is not a federal holiday it is considered the longest-running African- American holiday. The early Juneteenth celebrations included praying for each other, reassuring each other, and gathering remaining family members.
Some Juneteenth festivities include rodeos, barbecuing, fishing and baseball which provide entertainment to the many that continue the tradition today. Barbecuing was a way that Juneteenth participants could sit around the barbecue pit and share in spirit the happiness of their freedom. During todays’ celebrations the food is in abundance unlike in the beginning when they celebrated with whatever they had. A true Juneteenth celebration is also filled with rich conversation and dressing in adorning clothing (usually from former masters).
How can we celebrate today?
-Find an event in your community
-Host your own backyard party
-Cook some traditional foods
-Support Black-owned businesses
-Listen to Black artists
-Read books written by Black authors and poets
-Watch Black television shows and movies
-Visit an exhibit or museum dedicated to Black Culture
June is LGBTQIA+ Pride Month. The LGBTQIA+ acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (or Questioning), Intersex, Asexual (or Ally), and the “+” includes space for those of other orientations or identities. Pride Month is celebrated in June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, which occurred on June 28, 1969 and helped launch the civil rights movement for LBGTQIA+ persons. Pride events held during the month of June celebrate and honor the impact LGBTQIA+ people have had in this country and the world. Pride Month also includes memorials for the members of the community who have died from HIV/AIDS or have been victims of hate crimes.
How can we join in the celebration?
• Learn the difference between sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation
• Ask about preferred pronouns when you meet someone new
• If you see discrimination happening, say something
• Join your school’s Gay-Straight Alliance
• Register to vote and vote for candidates who respect the dignity of every person
Local Jacksonville resources:
• JASMYN – JASMYN supports and empowers LGBTQIA+ young people by creating safe space, providing health and wholeness services, and offering youth development opportunities while bringing people and resources together to promote equality and human rights. https://www.jasmyn.org/
• PFLAG of Jacksonville – PFLAG envisions a world where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected, valued, and affirmed, inclusive of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. PFLAG offers support for families, allies, and people who are LGBTQIA+; education for ourselves and others about the unique issues and challenges facing people who are LGBTQIA+; and advocacy in our communities to change attitudes and create policies and laws that achieve full equality for persons who are LBGTQIA+ https://pflagjax.org
• The Trevor Project: (866) 488-7386
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255
• The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender National Hotline: (888) 843-4564
• The GLBT National Youth Talkline (youth serving youth through age 25): (800) 246-7743
• The National Runaway Switchboard: (800) RUNAWAY, (800) 786-2929
Sponsored by the DCCPTA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee
For more information contact Diversity@dccpta.org