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Slavery didn't end when President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. In fact, the Civil War didn't end until April 5, 1865. Two months after the Confederate Army surrendered, the news finally reached the town of Galveston, Texas. The town celebrated the end of slavery on June 19, making this the first Juneteenth holiday. As the decades went on, Juneteenth became an unofficial holiday in the South and gradually spread to the rest of the United States. Today, people in states across the country commemorate Juneteenth and reflect on this nation's heritage. This holiday can be joyous, but it also has a somber tone--and it's important for everyone to learn from history's mistakes.
Black-owned businesses don't just need support on Juneteenth--like other businesses, they need support throughout the year. However, Juneteenth is a great opportunity to draw attention to the black-owned businesses in your community. Here are a few ways you can support large companies and small businesses alike.
Fenty Beauty is probably the most recognizable black-owned brands in the world, as it was founded by superstar Rihanna. The brand garnered huge recognition for its first launch of foundations in every skin tone, including true, deep blacks and browns that other beauty companies ignored. Fenty Beauty runs their own nonprofit, the Clara Lionel Foundation, to support education and emergency response for over 20 countries worldwide.
Briogeo was founded by Nancy Twine, and she’s garnered massive popularity for her brand from hair care enthusiasts of all skin colors and ethnicities. You can find Briogeo at Sephora and Nordstrom, or shop direct to truly support the brand.
Cashmere Nicole founded Beauty Bakerie back in 2011, and they continue to dominate the beauty scene with adorable and safe cosmetics and skin care products that look like they came straight from your local bakery. Cashmere founded Sugar Homes in 2016, an organization that supports orphaned children worldwide. Also great to note that 75% of their executive team are people of color.
Although not black-owned, PrincessPolly has been working with the Loveland Foundation since 2020, to support the Therapy Fund for Black Women and Girls. In 2020 they donated $60,000 and this year they’re donating an additional $100,000. Their customers can also support the Loveland Foundation by adding a $1 donation during check-out - since launching in March, customers have already donated over $9800.
Telfar Celemens founded this genderless fashion label, and his bags have made a splash all over the world. The iconic Telfar shape and three unique sizes add to the allure of the brand, making it a popular choice for celebrities and the Instagram-famous too. Shop direct or get a deal by finding one on StockX, where they guarantee authenticity.
Another Rihanna-founded brand, Savage X Fenty one specializes in lingerie for all shapes and sizes and always has coupons and deals to help you save.
One of the hottest new fashion designers of 2021, Christopher John Rogers’ clothing line can be found on sites like Saks 5th Avenue and Net-a-Porter. Major celebrities like Michelle Obama, Zendaya, and Tracee Ellis Ross have worn and continue to wear his gowns, skirts, and dresses. He just launched a major collection available more affordably at Target, too!
For essential oils, natural body care products, organic cleaners and more, Plant Therapy is the go-to destination. They donated over $5,000 to the NAACP LDF, The Loveland Foundations, and Campaign Zero and match employee donations up to $2,000 each per year too. You can use code LOTION15 for 15% off all body lotions on June 19.
This high-end retailer is not POC-owned, but they have made a huge commitment to creating a more diverse company for their customers, employees, and management teams. Nordstrom has committed to donating $1M per year to anti-racist charities by 2025, $500M in sales from POC-owned brands by 2025, and have 50% more POC in their management roles by 2025. They also sell many POC-owned brands like Uoma Beauty, Sienna Naturals, Briogeo, 54 Thrones, BeautyStat, Baby Tress and more.
Function of Beauty is a bespoke beauty site that allows you to take a quiz to find out what products and ingredients will work best for your skin and hair type. Though they are not POC-owned, FoB increased their BIPOC representation to 40% on social media in 2020, and they donate to AAPI, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ charities.
Though not POC-owned, Lyft has continued to support black and POC communities with initiatives like LyftUp, which provides ride access to communities in need. They also offer a donate feature on their app, which allows you to round your cost up to the nearest dollar and donate to a charity of your choice.
Saint Ola is a black-owned fashion company that designs clothing with a diverse clientele in mind. You can buy premade clothes from the company's website or talk to a consultant online to order a custom-made piece. Saint Ola's online collection includes pants, shorts, blazers, dresses and face masks.
Taylor Jay offers a wide range of clothing for women with diverse heritages and body types. This brand offers elegant minimalist pieces made from high-quality fabric, including dresses, tops, jumpsuits, face masks and more. You can shop online or visit the company's brick-and-mortar store in California.
Design Essentials offers hair products made specifically for textured hair. You can find products for various hair types, including curly, wavy and coily as well as hairstyles like locs and braids. Design Essentials also sells products for wigs and hair extensions.
Nobody needs support more than the family-owned businesses in your area. Even if you only have a few dollars to spare, visit a black-owned cafe or restaurant and order a cup of coffee. Get in the habit of buying goods from black-owned businesses instead of major companies like Walmart and Amazon. When you visit local businesses, you're not just supporting the employees, you're also more likely to get a high-quality product. Most small businesses take their relationship with their customers seriously.
Juneteenth can be a time of celebration, but it's important to remember the true meaning of the holiday. Whether Juneteenth is part of your heritage or not, you can honor this holiday by learning about American history--even the parts that you might not be proud of. And the learning doesn't have to stop when Juneteenth is over. Here are some ways that you could continue to educate yourself throughout the year:
Attend a class or lecture in your area.
Do some research online from factual, unbiased sources.
Watch documentaries about slavery and the Civil War.
Educate yourself about race issues beyond the 1800s--they didn't end when the Civil War was over.
Teach your children about the importance of learning from history.
On the other hand, here are a few ways to celebrate if Juneteenth is part of your heritage:
Have a gathering with your family or friends.
Host a lecture on the subject in-person or online.
Take advantage of store and restaurant deals in your area.
If you're a teacher, incorporate Juneteenth in your lesson plan.
Some restaurants have offered meals for $6.19 if you stop in during Juneteenth. Search online to see if any restaurants in your area are offering this special.
Go online to see if you can find any free virtual events. Past events have included free tours, free movie streaming and free music festivals.
You don't have to spend a lot of money to commemorate Juneteenth. Here's some ways that you could celebrate on your own or educate your children or students about this important day.
Learning about Juneteenth is always free. If you're not familiar with this holiday, go online or visit the local library to learn about the history of this day and the events that led up to it. Even if you've heard of Juneteenth, you might learn some new facts that you didn't know before.
Your children might celebrate Juneteenth, but do they know about the history behind it? Talk to your kids or students about the meaning behind Juneteenth and why it's one of the most important days in American history.
Many cities host a number of free events during Juneteenth. Do some research to see if you can find any celebrations in your area. If you don't want to leave your house, see if you can take part in any virtual events. In recent years, some businesses have started giving their employees time off for Juneteenth, making it easier for everyone to join in on the celebrations.
You can find hundreds of novels and non-fiction books about slavery, the Civil War and other topics that help you imagine what it was like to live in the 1800s. When you have an idea of what life was like back then, you'll have more background and context to enhance your understanding of this holiday. Similarly, you could visit a museum that has artifacts from that era.
Yes! Americans celebrate Juneteenth every year.
Juneteenth commemorates the day that slavery finally ended everywhere in the United States.
Americans celebrate Juneteenth on June 19.