Juneteenth is an important holiday that celebrates an important day in U.S. history - the day that people who were held as slaves were told they were free. While most in the United States celebrate the Fourth of July as the day that we became a free nation, it's important to recognize that not all people were truly free on that day in 1776. It wasn't until 1865 that ALL people were given freedom.
We have come a long way as a nation, and still continue to have a lot of work to do. One thing we can all do is remember, celebrate, and teach our children about the importance of Juneteenth. Currently, it isn't a national holiday in the U.S., but there is a petition that aims to change that. If you'd like to support Juneteenth becoming a national holiday, consider signing the petition to show your support. Props to Target for showing that they stand with Black families by declaring Juneteenth a company holiday.
JUNETEENTH IN SPEECH
There are several books that can be read in speech-language therapy about this important day. Have discussions with your students on this important topic while working on their listening skills (e.g. body positioning, appropriate body space), turn-taking in conversation, question formulation, fluency, and sentence formulation. There are also a lot of great vocabulary terms associated with this topic, including slavery, civil war, liberty, abolish, proclamation, etc. Check out this FREEBIE on TPT, which is a book companion for the the book, "Juneteenth for Mazie". You can watch a read aloud of the story by the superintendent for Wichita Public Schools on YouTube.
check out Kiddo Lingo - the book's "goal is to provide exposure to daily activities that children of all diverse cultures experience"
download the free book companion for Juneteenth for Mazie
check out this list of 4 ways that you can celebrate Juneteenth - includes a list of virtual Juneteenth celebrations that you can attend
Lastly, while of course all people matter, right now, we need to talk about the Black lives that are needlessly being taken away, and the injustices that Black people in the U.S. face every single day on a micro and macro scale. Please keep in mind, our goal should not be to ignore the color of someone's skin or to not see color. I frequently hear and read people saying things like, "I don't see color," or "If we stopped labeling people as white or black then we wouldn't have a problem". When you make these types of statements, you are saying to ignore people's history, culture, and the things that make them who they are. Instead, our goal should be to embrace and celebrate people for their differences in order to form a world that is truly equal and safe for all.
Stay safe, keep talking, and stay engaged. #BLM