Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States (Juneteenth.com/history). This commemoration goes back to 1865, on June 19th, when Union soldiers led by General Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, with the news of the war ending and, most importantly, with the news that the enslaved were now free.
As we approach this commemorative, celebratory, and significant day in history, we want to highlight ways that you or your organization can practice being an ally on Juneteenth (though being an effective ally is an ongoing process that requires both actions and education).
First—amplify the art, stories, talent, platforms, experiences, and work of BIPOC creators, activists, influencers, authors, and actors, as well as media that shares stories of BIPOC experiences.
Black BIPOC creators/activists/ influencers/authors/authors to follow and support:
Oh Happy Dani, Danielle Coke | Illustrator and Advocate
She uses her art and words to help good people become better neighbors. Her artwork seeks to encourage faith and inspire justice. Her illustrations are available for purchase through her website, and she has also created a free digital download to create a plan for justice work that uses your unique talents and skills. https://ohhappydani.com/
Tabitha Brown |Wife, Mom, Actress, Vegan Food Influencer
Tabitha has had multiple films and television appearances and shares recipes, inspirational videos, and messages across many social media platforms (Tik Tok, Instagram, FB). She is well known for her honesty, loving demeanor, and recipes and food reviews. https://www.iamtabithabrown.com/about
Morgan Harper Nichols | Artist, Poet, Musician
Morgan is a mixed media artist who is inspired by stories. She creates art daily (from other’s stories) across social media, through collaborations, her App Storyteller, online shop Garden 24, and is the author of “All along you were blooming” and “look how far you have come.” https://morganharpernichols.com/
Emmanuel Acho| | Author, Former Linebacker, Analyst for Fox Sports 1
Author of Uncomfortable conversations with a black man. A safe space to have uncomfortable conversations about race that many white people have never been able to have. https://uncomfortableconvos.com/about
Watch documentaries and movies that reflect and represent BIPOC history and experiences and are created by BIPOC filmmakers.
If Beale Street Could Talk
(Amazon Prime Video). Set in 1970’s Harlem, a romance and story that exemplifies systematic issues. An adaption of James Baldwin’s novel of the same name.
(Netflix and YouTube). Documentary about the prison industrial complex charting how the 13th amendment gave way to mass incarceration.
(Amazon Prime Video) World-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner. A powerful and thought-provoking story about injustice and justice.
12 Years a Slave
(Hulu, Youtube, and Amazon Prime). A review by the NY Times says this “Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave,” based on the true story of Solomon Northup, drives straight to the heart of the cruelties of oppression.”
(Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube). Marvel’s Black Panther has been recognized as significant for being race and gender-conscious in its casting and costuming. The film features BIPOC women and men in powerful and engaging roles and Marvel’s first BIPOC director, Ryan Coogler.
As we reflect on the ongoing and necessary work of fighting for social justice and change and reform, we want to leave you with these words on empathy by Morgan Harper Nichols “Empathy: Let me hold the door for you. I may have never walked in your shoes, but I can see your soles are worn, your strength is torn under the weight of a story I have never lived before. So let me hold the door for you. After all, you’ve walked through, and it’s the least I can do”. We believe the practice of being an ally requires empathy for the experiences of others that may be different from our own and involves ongoing education and action and listening to understand (rather than to respond).
Editor’s Note: This is by no means an exhaustive or comprehensive list. We believe everyone has a story worth telling. We encourage our readers to continue learning about the stories and experiences of others as well as seek out additional resources.
Hannah Lacy is a writer, mother, student and wife who loves to read and share stories. She is passionate about honest womanhood, motherhood and creativity. She believes in wild grace and sharing the beauty as well as the struggle and that one does not negate the other.