10 Things We Want White People to Do to Celebrate Juneteenth

10 Things We Want White People to Do to Celebrate Juneteenth

By Guimel Carvalho, Director of People and Culture and Amy Hogarth Director of Recruitment and Inclusion

Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, marks the day when Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce the end of the Civil War and slavery. It was June 19, 1865 and although the Emancipation Proclamation had freed slaves more than two years earlier there was minimal enforcement in Texas due to a lack of Union troops. 

Each year, Juneteenth is a day for Black people to celebrate freedom. This year Juneteenth carries deeper meaning in the wake of Black lives lost to police brutality in the last few weeks and months. It’s hard to think that freedom is on the minds or in the hearts of Americans after the murder of George Floyd, after demonstrations for liberation or after the President was planning a political rally today.

Black and Brown people are calling on white people to stand with them and take action. They’ve been fighting too hard and too long. ​​​It made us think about what do we want white people to do to celebrate Juneteenth? 

10 Things We Want White People to Do to Celebrate Juneteenth

  1. We want white people to deeply consider the wound of racism on the hearts of every Black American.
  2. On Juneteenth we want white people to read, study Black history, Black poets, Black leaders, Black achievements.
  3. We want white people to do things about racism as readily as they do things for their own children.
  4. We want white people to make a list of resolutions, of promises, of vows about what will it take for them to use their power, their privilege, their platforms of power to give space to Black and Brown leaders.
  5. We want them to find an accountability partner and make the list public of what actions they will take. They CAN do this on social media. A lot of those actions will be giving up privilege and making room for folks who they may not have noticed have no room at all.
  6. We want white people to stop talking about how uncomfortable it is to talk about racism or police violence.
  7. We want white people to stop being afraid of their own internalized white supremacy. We want them to search and look within at hard facts of thought and deed. Who cares about being comfortable? What about being true, brave and real instead?
  8. Then we want white people to stop talking and listen to what needs to be done.
  9. We want white people to plan on spending time in spaces with folks who are not like you.
  10. We want white people to hold other white people accountable not on social media, instead with measured voices that call folks in to look and wrestle – to change. We are interested in courageous conversations, in hearing folks out and in allowing themselves to feel terrible and to let that feeling be a crucible for change.


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