Juneteenth is an important day in American history because freedom is an important part of our history.
Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 the end of the Civil War was announced in Texas or the end of slavery in the United States.
The day has always been a time of celebration, especially in the African American community, and its significance only continues to grow: In 2021, Juneteenth National Independence Day was designated a U.S. Federal holiday.
Want your family to take part in this important and historical celebration of freedom? Here are four ideas on how:
Attend Juneteenth events
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Visit The Newark Museum of Art for Community Day: Juneteenth, Saturday, June 18, 12–5 pm. Outdoor festival inspired by Harriet Tubman featuring performers, artists, and dancers from the Black community across New Jersey.
Artmaking Activities Include Harriet Tubman Monument tile-making workshop: Carve your design into a tile of this future monument – limited capacity, sign up on-site| Block Print Tote Bags: commemorate the day with your printed tote bag | Flag Making: decorate a flag in honor of Juneteenth | Lanterns for Harriet Tubman: make your own paper lantern
Enjoy free general admission to the Museum all day during Community Day! For more information, please visit https://newarkmuseumart.org/event/community-day-juneteenth/?date=202206181200.
Thursday, June 16 at 7:30 p.m. ET on Zoom. Ibram X. Kendi, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist and MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, will be joined by Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Austin Channing Brown to discuss Juneteenth; the ways it is celebrated across the country; how the holiday can serve as the perfect jumping-off point to talk to kids from toddlers to teens about our country’s complicated, often-ugly history; and how they can shape an antiracist future. Link to Register.
Montclair Community will hold a Juneteenth Picnic to celebrate community and freedom on Friday, June 17, 2022 at 11:00 AM to 1:00PM. The event will include food trucks, live performances, and family fun. Bring a blanket, and enjoy performances, food, and fun activities. This outdoor event will take place on the Montclair Community PreK playground at 49 Orange Road in Montclair.
Learn about the holiday's meaning
Here's a catchy kid-friendly song from Sesame Street that explains Juneteenth:
For older children, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s website offers good information about Juneteenth, including a reading list.
Looking for great kids' books about Juneteenth? We love "Juneteenth for Mazie," about a little girl who is upset about restrictions like bedtime; and "All Different Now," the story of the day freedom arrived in Texas from a little girl's perspective.
Prepare a special meal together
Coming together as a family for a special meal is a traditional way to celebrate Juneteenth. Use the opportunity to explain the importance and meaning of the holiday to your kids.
Want ideas on what to cook? Check this fun video from Thrillist out:
Think about positive changes you'd like to see
The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, which is hosting a series of free virtual events this month to mark Juneteenth, suggests a great way to get kids involved and thinking about the meaning behind Juneteenth is to draw a picture, make a sign or write in a journal on the subject of what positive changes they would like to see in the world, and what they can do to help.
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The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture offers these conversation starters to help kids begin thinking about the project:
- Who or what is important to you?
- What's something you'd like to see a change in your community?
- What would your community be like if everyone was healthy, happy, and safe?
- Do you see a problem that needs to be fixed?
- Are there people who should be treated better? How?
- What can you do to make a difference, fix a problem, or help someone?
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