A flyer for the Juneteenth Jubilee, organized by the Blacksmiths, Intersectional Voices Collective, and the Wide Awakes (image courtesy Niama Safia Sandy)

Amid the ongoing national uprisings against anti-Black racism and police brutality, there’s been an amusing amount of “we’re down with Black people” virtue signaling coming from corporations and institutions. These include the hypocritical statements issued by retail behemoths like Amazon, and the hollow remarks of solidarity offered by museums including SFMOMA and the British Museum. These institutions, among others, have long failed to address issues of racial diversity and equity through their hiring practices and treatment of Black employees, and centuries of complicity with colonial plundering. The rush to assure consumers and constituents of how supportive such brands and institutions may be of the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement reads as opportunistic at best, and frankly, hypocritical and dishonest at worst.

Juneteenth — the Black American holiday that commemorates June 19, 1865, the date that the last enslaved persons in Galveston, TX finally received word of emancipation (two years after the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation) — is similarly being embraced by mainstream institutions that likely had not been moved to commemorate it in years past. The holiday is celebrated annually by Black communities around the US, often with parades, cookouts, and activities focused on celebrating Black cultures and histories.

And while I’m all for a coming-to-awareness by white-led institutions, it should go without saying that any marking of this auspicious holiday that celebrates Black liberation should be backed up by racially equitable policies at every level, both internally and externally. After all, the best way to embrace the spirit of Juneteenth is to actively hire, support, mentor, fairly compensate, and advance the careers of Black staffers, contractors, and business partners.

Accordingly, we’ve compiled a shortlist of events organized by Black-led and historically Black institutions to celebrate Juneteenth. If quiet reading and reflection is more your style, I’d also recommend checking out this Black Liberation reading list from the Schomburg Center, published in honor of its 95th anniversary. You can also support Black liberation by making a donation to the Texas-based Black Trans Advocacy Coalition, which is the only national organization led by Black trans people to address the inequities such folks face in healthcare, housing, employment, and education.

Lastly, for those brands and institutions looking to support Black liberation beyond Juneteenth, now would be a good time to take a cue from the more action-focused responses of companies like Glossier. The beauty brand recently announced it will direct $500k to organizations fighting racial injustice and another $500k toward starting a Black-owned beauty business grant program.

After all, actions (and dollars) speak louder than words and a few sprinkles of “in solidarity.”

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We are now one day away from an amazing moment of Black celebration and joy that will reverberate across continents with 275+ public events in motion, including globally with virtual events being planned in Montpellier, France and Damaturu, Nigeria. We put out a call for our folks to celebrate Juneteenth with us in D.C. + Everywhere. And you heard us! Thousands have already indicated that they’re coming to join us in D.C. or creating local actions in cities around the world. As we prepare for a showering of Black love & resistance, we must uphold our duty to protect one another. Due to predicted inclement weather in the DMV area we are adjusting the programming of our SixNineteen Weekend of Action. Your safety is paramount. It’s why we do what we do. Please know that anyone coming to stand and march with local organizers will be welcomed with open arms. Folks will still march together and will carry the rallying cries of #DefendBlackLives and #DefundThePolice with them throughout the weekend and beyond. If you’d like to attend an event this weekend, either from home or out in the streets, check out sixnineteen.org to get plugged in. If you don’t see one in your area, feel free to host one! We’re building community with one another more deeply every day. #InDefenseOfBlackLives #SixNineteen #M4BL #BlackLivesMatter

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Juneteenth Action: Washington DC Community Marches

Organized by the Movement for Black Lives

As part of its national call for action to commemorate Juneteenth, the consortium organization the Movement for Black Lives is organizing a daylong lineup of marches and rallies in Washington DC, starting with a cancel the rent march at 12pm ET. You can also check out its website for a directory of marches and actions across 45 states and 3 countries.

When: June 19, various times
Where: DC, and various cities; see here for more details

BLKFREEDOM.org Launch and Celebration

Launching this Friday at 9am PT, six historically Black museums and cultural institutions will come together for a “digital commemoration” of Juneteenth. The debut digital program will feature remarks by an impressive roster of Black leaders, all of whom were “firsts” in their field: Dr. Johnetta Betsch Cole, an anthropologist, educator, and the first Black woman president of Spelman College; Carla Hayden, the current Librarian of Congress and the first African American and first woman appointed to this role; and Lonnie G. Bunch III, the first African American and first historian to serve as Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, and former founding director of Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

When: Launching June 19, 12pm ET
Where: Online, see here for more details

Juliette Jones and Jarvis Benson of Rootstock Republic (image courtesy the Schomburg Center)

JUNETEENTH: Creating Legacy in Contested Places

Presented by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Texas Freedom Colonies Project

Founded in 1925 with the collection of Afrolatino scholar, educator, and activist Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center has been a pillar of Harlem’s Black community for decades. To commemorate Juneteenth this year, the Schomburg will be presenting a program featuring a live performance by Rootstock Republic, the musical act co-led by violinist and composer Juliette Jones and violist Jarvis Benson, which will include the premiere of a new arrangement of “Strange Fruit”; conversations with chef and historian Therese Nelson, Dr. Andrea Roberts, founder of Texas Freedom Colonies Project, and two descendants of Texas’s Freedom Colonies; and a “celebration of Juneteenth through food” with chef and TV personality Carla Hall.

When: June 19, 2pm ET
Where: Online, see here for more details

Lineage Launchpad: Juneteenth Online Archival Conversation

Presented by the Laundromat Project 

This year, the Harlem-based arts nonprofit will present an interactive, online conversation about the “Black Image,” led by award-winning filmmaker and producer Ann Bennett (Always in Season, Through a Lens Darkly, and Nas: Time is Illmatic) and collaborators. This program will explore digital archives and collections, and discuss strategies for how to “research, preserve and share images of the African American / Black Diaspora experiences.”

When: June 19, 1–2pm ET
Where: Online, see here for more details

Juneteenth Jubilee

Organized by the Blacksmiths, Intersectional Voices Collective, and the Wide Awakes

In an effort to celebrate Black joy as a form of resistance, a coalition of artists, curators, event producers, and organizers is teaming up to put on the Juneteenth Jubilee in Harlem, one of New York’s historically Black neighborhoods. Demanding the recognition of “Black American agency and ingenuity,” the organizers are asking folks to join them for festivities that will welcome all Black people, “with special attention to Black queer and trans persons,” and include performances by Maluca, Shyvonne, Vuyo Sotashe, Mwenso & the Shakes, and more. There will also be voter registration assistance and attendees are being asked to wear white with “a touch of red.” (Please wear a mask to curb community spread.)

When: June 19, 3pm ET
Where: 110 Street and Malcolm X Boulevard, Harlem, Manhattan; see here for more details

A flyer for the Juneteenth Freedom Party, organized by the Brooklyn Movement Center, BYP 100, and the Audre Lorde Project

Juneteenth Freedom Party

Organized by the Brooklyn Movement Center, BYP 100, and the Audre Lorde Project

These three organizations, each of which have long been invested in the struggle for racial justice, have teamed up to invite Black riders, walkers, and “movers of all kinds” to join them for a celebration and rally along Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway. (Please wear masks to curb community spread.)

When: June 19, 3:30pm ET meet up, 5pm ET rally
Where: Various locations in Brooklyn, more details here

Beyond Resilience – Tulsa, Juneteeth & the Path Toward Economic Justice

Presented by Firelight Media

Joining the Movement for Black Lives’s national call to action on June 19, the documentary nonprofit founded by renowned filmmaker Stanley Nelson is presenting a conversation that will explore the history of Juneteenth; the violent destruction of Black Wall Street; and the path towards economic justice for Black people in the US.

When: June 19, 4–5pm ET
Where: Online, via Firelight Media; more details here

Super Blues color Lux bath

A sonic and visual meditation presented by Scribe Video Center

The Philadelphia-based center founded by documentarian Louis Massiah to advance the use of electronic and artistic media as tools for social change will be presenting an “aural and sonic play considering the implications of grief, connection, loss, meditation, the Blues, crisis, revolution, change, breath, heart, vulnerability, kinship, Eros and tonality.” Led by muthi reed and Angela Davis Johnson of Hollerin Space, the performance is free with a suggested donation of $5–10 to support Scribe’s staff and programming.

When: June 19, 7–9pm ET
Where: Online, see here for more details

Dessane Lopez Cassell is a New York based editor, writer, and film curator, as well as the former reviews editor at Hyperallergic. You can follow her work here.