Celebrate (and Recognize) Juneteenth!

This is in a series called “Founder’s Corner” written by Game to Grow’s founder Adam Davis. 

“Juneteenth marks our country’s second independence day,”, the National Museum of African American History and Culture shares, “although it has long celebrated in the African American community, this monumental event remains largely unknown to most Americans.”

I’m originally from Texas, so I’ve been aware of Juneteenth for most of my life. In recent years Juneteenth has become a more widely recognized day, and now that it’s a federal holiday, many now take today off of work.

I’ve always struggled “taking days off” in recognition of days like Juneteenth (I’m also a recovering workaholic, but that’s another post).  NMAAHC says that “The historical legacy of Juneteenth shows the value of never giving up hope in uncertain times.”

I love a cookout as much as the next guy, but as someone with a complicated historical legacy (I’m an indirect descendant of Jefferson Davis), I’ve always struggled with making Juneteenth just another day to kick back and have a break from the daily grind. If Independence Day is a day to recognize and celebrate the founding principles under which America was born, Juneteenth is the necessary counterpoint to recognize and reflect on the winding path that we have tread and the journey we still have before us before we can achieve those ideals.

Please celebrate Juneteenth. But let’s also remember Juneteenth, recognize Juneteenth, and reflect on Juneteenth.

“So, this year at Juneteenth, as you take a long swallow from a cool drink of hibiscus iced tea, or red punch, remember the ancestors who sacrificed, remember the blood shed in the struggle, remember the collective strength of people of the African diaspora, and finally remember the spirituality and transcendent joy that enabled us to overcome.”
Kelly Navies, museum specialist and oral historian

Here is a fantastic video featuring Kelly Navies about the history of Juneteenth and the importance of making it more than just a day of fun, games, and music (though please also do have a day full of fun, games, and music!):

For more information, please visit Smithsonian’s NMAAHC’s digital toolkit here.





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