3 useful tips for teaching children about Juneteenth

You’ve probably heard a lot about Juneteenth in recent years. Did you know that Juneteenth has been a holiday in the African-American community since 1865?

Hip-hop artist Isaac Collins aka Lyrical I hugs the youngster after his performance at the June 19 celebration in 2021.

(Kevin Painchaud / Belvedere Santa Cruz)

What is Juneteenth exactly? June 19 commemorates the day, June 19, 1865, when slaves in Texas learned of their freedom. It was two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863.

Although slaves were freed “on paper” after the 1863 proclamation, many were unaware of the news, especially in states near the southern border. Thus, Juneteenth represents the day when all slaves were free on paper and in reality, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Initially a Texas-only celebration, Juneteenth has become recognized in one form or another in every corner of the country. Now that it’s a federal holiday, you might want to share this historic moment in African American history with the kids in your life.

Here are three tips for talking to kids about the June 19 holiday, or as some call it, Freedom Day or Jubilee Day.

1. Before you can talk to kids about Juneteenth, you need to educate yourself. There are many resources you can choose from to learn more about the history and significance of June 19, whether from books written for all ages or through the many videos and podcasts available online. The Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History has a large resource archive as good as Santa Cruz Bookstore.

2. Share what you have learned with your child. Remember to adapt your conversation; choose books and videos to read and browse together that are developmentally appropriate as you explore, and begin to develop an appreciation for African American history and culture as you learn about the holidays. If the child is older, you may recognize the tough history that led up to Juneteenth and the resilient culture that pervades the holiday..

3. Celebrate together! Find a Juneteenth event near you and go. The opportunity to participate in the games, enjoy the food, learn about the history, and feel the sense of celebrating freedom will likely leave a lasting impression.

Santa Cruz Juneteenth 2022

Why not make this year the year your family dives a little deeper into African-American history?

The 30th June 16 Celebration of Santa Cruz will take place on June 18 from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Laurel Street Park. This free celebration is a day filled with music, entertainment, a youth basketball clinic hosted by the Reggie Stephens Foundation, the infamous sack race, crafts, soul food vendors and more Again. Visit our website for more information.

Sources: WeAreTeachers.com and Dayton Children’s Hospital

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