Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Juneteenth This Year

Note to reader: Our world is going through unprecedented challenges and changes. As we collectively navigate COVID-19 and the fight against racism, we believe it is important to stay well and take care of ourselves. We will continue sharing tips, tools, and resources to help our community do that. Read more about our response to racial injustice here.

At Fitbit, we know there is much more to do in the fight against racism and injustice. To give our employees time and space to help drive positive change, Fitbit is making Juneteenth an official company holiday. 

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is the longest-running Black or African-American holiday that celebrates the ending of slavery in the United States. It is important to know that while Juneteenth is a symbolic date celebrating the end of slavery, it is not the date all enslaved people in the United States were freed. In reality, it was the day Union Army Major General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, and told enslaved Texans of their emancipation, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation came in 1863. 

Fast forward to today, when more people than ever are learning about and celebrating this important day in history. Juneteenth commemorates Black American freedom and achievement while promoting knowledge and appreciation of Black American history and culture. That said, it’s a date that is recognized by most states, but isn’t a federal holiday. In 2020, there has been a renewed effort to establish it as a national holiday

Read on for some ideas on how you can use the time to make positive change. 

How can I celebrate Juneteenth and support the Black community?

Participate in local Juneteenth events, commemorations, celebrations, or other activities focused on addressing racial and social injustice.  

Educate yourself and others by doing a reading or hosting an event or gathering—while adhering to current local guidelines around COVID-19 and social distancing.

Listen to podcasts like NPR’s Code Switch, The New York Times’ 1619 and Still Processing, Pod Save the People with DeRay (from Crooked Media), and more. 

Watch shows and programs like Black-ish (Season 4, Episode 1: Juneteenth), Atlanta (Season 4, Episode 9: Juneteenth), Juneteenth Jamboree on PBS, and 13th on Netflix.  

Read educational literature like So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, How to Be an AntiRacist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson, Eloquent Rage by Dr. Brittney Cooper, and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. 

Decorate and display signs and banners at home; encourage your neighbors to join in.

Strive to debunk racial stereotypes wherever you can—whether by sharing on social media, with relatives or in your neighborhood, at your workplace, or all of the above. 

Patronize a local Black-owned small business.

Support Black liberation work being done in your town or city in whatever way you can. Donating, signing petitions, educating, and advocating are some great places to start.

Donate to memorial funds for Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbury, Tony McDade, and others. 

Volunteer with organizations that are providing critical services to Black communities (i.e. food banks, clothing drives, and more), especially in light of the joblessness caused by COVID-19 shutdowns.

For more ideas on how to respectfully celebrate Juneteenth—especially if you never have before—visit the official site. Learn more about some of Fitbit’s new initiatives around improving inclusivity, diversity, representation, and the Black Lives Matter movement here.

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