Celebrating Juneteenth: Supporting the Black community in AustinWritten by Emily Arismendy
In recent years, the significance of Juneteenth has gained widespread recognition as a pivotal moment in American history. Originating in Texas, Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans and serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for racial equality. In Austin, a city with a vibrant Black community, Juneteenth offers an opportunity to celebrate Black culture and uplift local Black-owned businesses.
Understanding the history of Juneteenth
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced General Order No. 3, declaring that all enslaved individuals in Texas were free.
This announcement came more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln. Juneteenth signifies the day when news of freedom finally reached the last remaining enslaved people in the country, marking a significant milestone in the fight for freedom and equality. Over time, Juneteenth has become a symbol of African American heritage, resilience, and the ongoing struggle for racial justice in America.
Celebrating Black Culture
Juneteenth offers a wonderful opportunity to honor and celebrate the richness and diversity of Black culture. Engaging in cultural activities can help promote understanding and appreciation while fostering inclusivity within the community.
Here are a few ideas to celebrate Black culture on Juneteenth in Austin:
- Attend local Juneteenth events: Participate in parades, concerts, art exhibitions, and cultural festivals organized by the Black community. These events often showcase traditional music, dance, spoken word performances, and artistic expressions that reflect the vibrancy of Black culture. Here are a few events happening this weekend:
- Juneteenth parade and festival (Austin) Saturday, June 17th
- Juneteenth Social Ride with Talib Abdullahi from the Black History Bike Ride , this Sunday, June 18th at 6PM
- Stories of the Bethany Cemetery: A walking tour of Austin’s oldest African American cemetery with Dr. Javier Wallace of Black Tours Austin, Wednesday June 21st at 6PM.
- Stay Black and Live Festival at the Carver Museum June 12th – June 19th
- Black Makers Market at the African American Cultural and Heritage Facility, June 17th
- Explore Black history: Take the time to learn about the rich history and contributions of Black Americans. Visit local museums, historical sites, or attend lectures and panel discussions that delve into the struggles, achievements, and milestones of the Black community.
- Support local Black artists: Discover and support Black artists in Austin by visiting galleries, attending art shows, or purchasing their artwork. Art is a powerful medium for storytelling and can provide valuable insights into the experiences and perspectives of Black artists.
Supporting Black-Owned Businesses in Austin
In addition to celebrating Black culture, Juneteenth also presents an opportunity to uplift and support local Black-owned businesses in Austin. Economic empowerment is a crucial aspect of achieving social justice and equality.
Here are a few Black-owned businesses in Austin you can support:
Health, Fitness and Therapy
- Jasmine Williams, Massage Therapist
- Reformation Massage and Body Work
- Easley Boxing/Fitness
- Namaste by Jay – Yoga
- Tryna Jackson, LPC Associate
- Centered Youth Clinic & Consulting
Hair and Beauty
- Arched Beauty, Makeup artist & Microblading
- She’s Rare Hair Lounge
- Generations Barber Shop
- 29Eleven Salon
Juneteenth serves as a reminder of the progress made and the work that lies ahead in the ongoing fight for racial equality and justice. By celebrating Black culture and supporting local Black-owned businesses in Austin, we can actively contribute to a more inclusive and equitable society. Let us embrace this holiday with open hearts and minds, ensuring that the spirit of Juneteenth resonates throughout the year, driving positive change in our communities.
As a reminder, here at SAFE we serve survivors of all identities, regardless of race, nationality, identity, gender expression, status, ability, or any other factor.