June 19, 2020 2 min read

Today is Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. We're ashamed we never knew the significance of this date until this year. But as Maya Angelou reminds us — "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." It is now our responsibility to do better. 

If we’re going to understand where we are today, we need to know how we got here. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, TX, with the news that the Civil War had ended and all enslaved people were free — nearly two and a half years  after the Emancipation Proclamation was officially announced.

It wasn’t until 1980 that Juneteenth became an official state holiday, thanks to the efforts of Al Edwards, a Black state legislator. However, three states still don’t recognize it, it’s rarely observed in the ones that do, and the federal government doesn’t recognize it as a national holiday; more states observe confederate holidays than Emancipation Days. 

In the last 155 years, we have made slow, uneven progress towards true equality, and it feels especially critical — falling as it does during this heightened time of learning and unlearning — to honor and celebrate freedom forall people. The observance of Juneteenth is  long overdue. Now that you know, what can you do about it?

  • Advocate — demand that your school or work make it an official holiday, and demand the same from your officials. The Faherty HQ team will not be working today, or any June 19th moving forward. Our stores are open, but the team will be paid for two hours off. Instead, we’ll be reflecting, learning, and committing to action. 
  • Learn — visit sites like  #HellaJuneteenth  or  Juneteenth,  and read up on the history of the day with articles like  What is Juneteenth?” 
  • Petition— Opal Lee is  petitioning Congress  to make 6/19 a national holiday.
  • Celebrate — center Black voices, talk to your friends and family about what’s happening, support  Black-owned businesses , protest, donate to organizations doing the work,  read ,  listen ,  watch 

On the last note, we’ve put together a list of some of the works and people our teammates at Faherty are currently turning to for inspiration, joy, and education:

We’d love you to share the Black creators you love with us, and we hope you’ll join us in celebrating Juneteenth from here on out.