Despite the lack of recognition on a national level, Juneteenth, aka June 19th, has been celebrated in Black communities for decades.
The holiday honors the day, June 19, 1865, when news of freedom made it to Galveston, Texas—two whole years after the Emancipation Proclamation made slavery illegal in the U.S.
Though the origins of Juneteenth start in Texas, today people around the country honor the holiday by participating in marches, donating to racial-justice orgs, like Black Lives Matter, learning about the legacy of Juneteenth, and protecting the origins of the holiday.
Juneteenth is also a day to celebrate freedom and independence. One way to do that is with a picnic! But first, you’ll need to pack the essentials. Grab a blanket, sunscreen, and scroll down.
Start with a charcuterie board.
Bring in a touch of barbeque energy with smoked meats and cheeses. Pair with okra chips, pimento cheese, and veggies. Mmm!
Order takeout from local Black-owned restaurants.
Juneteenth is a great opportunity to support Black-owned restaurants and bakeries near you—so go ahead and do less. (Red velvet cake is a favorite on Juneteenth. We grabbed ours from Make My Cake in Harlem)
Pack plenty of fruit.
A bountiful spread of strawberries, cherries, raspberries, watermelon, blackberries, nectarines, and grapefruit are perfect for a hot summer day.
Don't forget your red drink.
On Juneteenth, you see a lot of red foods and drinks. Red velvet cake is a crowd pleaser anytime of year, but on Juneteenth the color red is symbolic of the strength and resilience of our ancestors.
Black-owned cocktail company The Bad & Boozy Cocktail Co. has the perfect Juneteenth cocktail: Not Televised.
Raspberries (1 to 2 cartons)
Fresh Basil Leaves (1 bundle)
Honey (1 bottle)
Soda Water (2 liters)
Lime Juice (8 ounce bottle)
Patrón Extra Añejo (1 bottle)
Add 5 to 7 raspberries, 1 basil leaf, and 1 Tbsp honey to a glass and muddle. Add 2 ounces of Patrón Extra Añejo and a dash of lime juice and stir well. Add ice and top with soda water.
Set the vibe right
Shameless plug: While Entertaining Juneteenth playlist on Spotify.
Bring along a few books
Spark a deeper dialogue with reads like Wandering Strange Lands by Morgan Jerkins, African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song edited by Kevin Young, and Black Futures edited by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Worthman.
Activate your guests!
Ask everyone to sign Opal Lee's petition to make Juneteenth a national holiday!
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