In recent months, following the worldwide protests over police brutality and the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many other African-Americans—the annual Juneteenth holiday has been rejuvenated. Thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement, you have probably already noticed celebrations from both brands and citizens showing support in a variety of ways (more on this below).

Here at Gravitate, we’re taking the opportunity to educate ourselves about this special day that celebrates freedom and provide some helpful ways to get involved. Basically, show you all the same resources and links that we’ve been passing around on Slack for weeks now.

What is Juneteenth?

Our country’s freedom was declared on July 4, 1776—cue the annual fireworks show. But did you know that Black people were not declared free for another 87 freaking years?! Then, it took another two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation for the news to reach the last enslaved people in Galveston, Texas.

The date slavery was truly abolished was June 19, 1865—now celebrated as Juneteenth—the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

What are brands doing?

Let’s not steer away from the fact Juneteenth is a day of celebration. So what can companies do to show their support and not remain silent? Many brands are using their immense social platforms to showcase Black-led community initiatives and Black-owned businesses. While others are donating to the Equal Justice Initiative, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and many others.

What are people doing?

There’s a lot of ways to get involved. Sign a petition—here’s one for the civil rights group Color of Change and another for Justice for George Floyd. Donate to Black Lives Matter, jump into a local BLM chapter, or start your own division. Thinking about joining a peaceful protest—know your rights.  Donate to a fund to help bail out protesters who get arrested—here’s a link to a google doc that just keeps growing. Help support Campaign Zero, a police reform group working on solutions informed by data and human rights principles.

Some closing words. . .

As the nation rallies and cries for change, Juneteenth can re-energize the Black Lives Matter movement. We’re proud to join in the celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, but recognize that our nation still has a long way to go.

Do your part to show support, educate yourself and those around you about systemic racism, attend vigils, speak out against racism across societal institutions because as we all can see: colossal change is needed in many areas to help create more equality for people of all races, creeds, and colors.

Thanks for listening to us.

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