10 things that can help you celebrate Juneteenth
Support Black-owned businesses while celebrating this year.
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Summer is right around the corner, and for many families, that means enjoying the sunshine and plenty of holiday gatherings. Plus, with more people becoming vaccinated, we’re able to have in-person gatherings and enjoy these holidays together. One of these holidays is Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day. After the Black Lives Matter movement surged across the country last year, more people are celebrating this historic day and more companies are offering time off for it.
Juneteenth marks the anniversary of June 19, 1865—the day when Major General Gordon landed in Galveston, Texas, with news that slavery had ended, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth became a state holiday in Texas in 1980, and while it’s not yet a national holiday (though some lawmakers are making efforts to do so), people have honored Juneteenth by way of rodeos, fishing, cookouts, and parades over the last 41 years.
Since Juneteenth isn’t just about celebration—it’s very much about reclamation and education as well—I’ve compiled a list of Black-owned businesses you can shop from to commemorate the holiday and its significance.
1. Savory sauce for your barbecue
When she was just 14 years old, Texas native Tyla-Simone Crayton created an entire line of barbecue sauces called Sienna Sauce that was featured on Shark Tank. Like many summer celebrations, the hallmark of many Juneteenth festivities is the grill. Amp up your barbecue menu with one of Crayton’s fabulous sauces, which are gluten-free and contain no high fructose corn syrup. This bundle pack has tangy, spicy, and lemon pepper sauces and they make for a wonderful dip or marinade for grilled chicken, steaks, seafood, and even veggies.
2. Freedom-inspired earrings
Show your love for Juneteenth with a pair of uniquely handcrafted earrings from Stunning Statements. Hand-painted in striking liberation colors (green, red, and black), these earrings bring the Juneteenth vibes. Owner Sherterica Evans, based in Gulfport, Mississippi, explains the motivation behind her special line of Juneteenth earrings. “I wanted to be a part of helping us celebrate and represent our culture,” she says. “You always see people dressing up for other holidays such as July 4th. And for us, Juneteenth is just as important.” There is also free shipping available on all orders.
3. Incredible books about Juneteenth
If you’re just now learning about Juneteenth, there are several books on the market that can help further educate yourself and your family on the holiday. Whether you’re seeking adult nonfiction like On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed or a picture book like Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper, there are a number of Black-owned bookstores around the country you can support and order books from specifically about this holiday.
4. A board game that pays homage to Black history
If you’re looking for a way to spice up your backyard barbecue this year, try a new, fun (and educational) board game. The perfect game for Juneteenth is Black Wall Street, which works pretty much like Monopoly and is filled with educational resources. Although the game is based on the Black-owned businesses that once thrived in Tulsa’s Greenwood district, it is very much a lesson in freedom and history.
5. A t-shirt to show your Juneteenth pride
Wherever you plan to go for the holiday, show up in historic fashion with a Freedom Day t-shirt. The Meek Apparel is a Black-owned, socially conscious t-shirt shop on Etsy that prides itself on providing comfortable, handmade shirts for every occasion—including Juneteenth. Note that there is still a COVID-19 shipping disclaimer that asks customers to allow for up to 1-3 business day delays, which is your sign to order one now.
6. Juneteenth-themed party cups
Are you hosting a Juneteenth celebration this year? You’ll want to decorate your space with Juneteenth-themed decorations that fit with yellow, red, and green. These Juneteenth cups are a great place to start and are made by Etsy shop owner Regina Renee out of Joliet, Illinois.
7. Soda from a Black-owned pop company
If you happen to be in the state of North Carolina, Bingo Bango Soda Co., the nation’s only Black-owned soda pop company, delivers to nearby areas in the Triad and the Triangle of North Carolina. Red soda is a staple of Juneteenth and this company has quite a few options of red pop to choose from. From lemon peach pomegranate to strawberry lemonade, this soda will certainly make your Freedom Day celebration pop.
8. Hibiscus tea to mark history
Fun fact: The very first Juneteenth celebrations also included hibiscus tea. Hibiscus was an herb that traveled with Africans to the United States and many still make hibiscus teas for guests when celebrating Juneteenth. Order some from Black-owned Ellis Isle Tea for your celebration and share a piece of history with your guests.
9. Plant-based burgers that are legendary
These plant-based burgers are legendary, literally. As recently seen on Shark Tank, Maryland-based Everything Legendary provides some of the best quality of plant-based burgers. Customers around the country can kick off Juneteenth celebrations by ordering directly from the Everything Legendary website (which offers free shipping on all orders) to experience these very realistic meatless patties.
10. Vino to toast with
For the over 21 crowd, toast to freedom with a glass of Theopolis Vineyards’ award-winning wine. This California-based Black-owned wine brand was created by trial lawyer Theodora Lee, who promises the best homegrown and curated wines. The site houses a robust selection of spirits you can order from, but a best-seller to consider is the 2018 Estate Grown Petite Sirah that features notes of bright berries, firm tannins, and robust spice.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.