© Jacob Webster 2021
Over the past 2 years, Juneteenth also known as "Emancipation Day" for Texans, has garnered national recognition. What's missing from this conversation is many Black Texans like Opal Lee, "Grandmother of Juneteenth" or the late District 146 State Representative "Mr. Juneteenth" Al Edwards (former Third Ward neighbor to Beyoncé and me) have advocated heavy for the national recognition of Juneteenth over the decades.
Although, it was signed into law as a nationally recognized federal holiday just this past year (2021), many miss out on how hard Black Texans pushed to make this a reality. Here's a very brief history of the holiday's Texas roots:
The goal was never to commercialize and exploit the holiday. (Yes, we are pointing at you, Dollar Tree) If you're looking for some impactful ways to observe the holiday, here's some ideas from this Black Texas girl:
- Purchase or Gift the Juneteenth: A Children's Story book authored by Opal Lee (Godmother of Juneteenth)
- Support Emancipation Park conservation in the historic Black neighborhood of Third Ward Houston, TX
- Donate: Project Row Houses committed to fostering programs that promote sustainable art and community enrichment in the historically Black neighborhood of Third Ward in Houston
- Donate: Normal Anomaly, an advocacy organization committed to providing direct services to Houston's Black LGBTQ community
Donate: The Mahogany Project an advocacy organization with a mission to cultivate multi-
intersectional spaces that center the Black diaspora while decreasing social isolation, stigma, and breaking barriers of social injustice.
- Donate: Save Our Sisters United Inc. a 501c3 organization offering services to Black Trans women, all Trans people of color, and women of ethnic minority https://sosuinc.org/
- Donate: Southwestern Trail Riders Association -one of the oldest Black trail rider associations in Texas and the only to be lead by Black women contact: gabbycurvey78@yahoo.
- Donate: Defender one of the oldest local Black-owned news publications in Houston
- Strategically make a plan to support Black-owned businesses year-round! Not just Juneteenth. Not just Black History Month. Not just when the cameras are on.
Note: These are just a few suggestions, most of which are Houston-centered because that's my community.