Daily Kos Celebrates Juneteenth, June 2023

Juneteenth: Our equity commitment at Daily Kos

“At Daily Kos, the Equity Council works to build a better organization and community by focusing on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Kos Media. The Equity Council issues this statement as a commitment to these ideals, and to encourage Daily Kos to take action internally and externally to support the movement.”

The original Juneteenth occurred on June 19, 1865, the day a Union general finally delivered an official proclamation in Galveston that slavery was no longer legal in Texas. In the years that followed, the date became a focal point for honoring the African American struggle for freedom and equality and celebrating the family and community bonds that have been at the heart of that struggle. Decades of activism on the part of community members, elected officials, and others to have the date observed as a federal holiday finally culminated on June 17, 2021, when President Biden signed legislation to create “Juneteenth National Independence Day.”

Sadly, it seems likely that the final impetus for the establishment of the holiday arose at least in part from the massive public outcry consolidated behind the Black Lives Matter mantra. Given the egregious frequency of extra-judicial killings by police of Black people documented during the past several years, the names of the murdered have become a painful litany of loss and betrayal. This commonplace brutality has been accompanied since 2013 by systematic efforts, led by the Roberts Supreme Court, to suppress Black voting and in turn diminish the power of Black communities. Intensifying attacks on reproductive justice, on LGBTQIA+ rights, and on efforts to seek economic and environmental justice all affect Black Americans adversely.

Observed this year on Monday, June 19, Juneteenth offers an important opportunity to celebrate Black liberation successes since 1865 and the strength, creativity, and courage of Black individuals, families, and communities in particular that have generated these positive results. It also serves as a prompt to redouble our efforts to continue to expand rather than contract those gains. It depends on all of us to make the phrase “Black Lives Matter” more than empty words.

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Current Daily Kos Activism

  • Sign the petition to Congress: Help end hunger & expand food access The 2023 Farm Bill would expand access to SNAP and other nutrition assistance programs and remove barriers to accessing vital food assistance to prevent hunger, ameliorating conditions that still disproportionately impact Black children and adults.
  • Sign the petition: Denounce fascism in state governments. Stand up in solidarity with the legislators, most often BIPOC and LGBTQ+ leaders, who are being targeted by right-wing forces in a show of power.
  • Sign the petition to the DOJ: Investigate the expulsion of Tennessee state legislators. The actions taken made the Republican majority in the Tennessee state House against Black Democratic Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson must not go unanswered by federal law enforcement.
  • Sign the petition: Protect and expand abortion rights at the state level Abortion restrictions fall heaviest on pregnant Black people, who are at a much higher risk of maternal death than the general population and much less likely to be able to afford to travel for appropriate health care.

Resources for education, empowerment, and engagement


Empowerment and Engagement

  • Hosea Helps is the largest Black-owned food bank in the southeast, named in honor of civil rights activist Hosea Williams, according to Black Enterprise.
  • Fair Fight Action is a national voting rights organization founded by Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams “to organize collective efforts to expose, mitigate, and reverse voter suppression.”
  • The Black Voters Matter Fund is a nonprofit voting rights and community empowerment organization working to increase power in Black communities through voter registration, policy advocacy, training, and election activities.
  • The Black Inmate Commissary Fund is “a mutual aid organization built on the foundation of abolition of the carceral state, which disproportionately affects Black communities.”
  • How to protect your mental health in the fight for racial injustice Anti-racist work is relentless, and can take a toll on the health of those fighting on the front lines for racial justice. Take care of yourselves as you celebrate this Juneteenth.
  • Haymarket Books’ Abolitionist Starter Kit Haymarket Books has assembled a set of five essential reads for getting started in the abolitionist movement and fighting mass incarceration. Get all five for $50, and then dig deeper into their abolitionist reading list.
  • Watch filmmaker Ava Duvernay’s documentary 13th to understand why prison reform is vital While our prison systems continue to destroy Black lives and families, celebrating Juneteenth is bittersweet. Allies who haven’t seen Duverney’s 13th should find the time to watch and learn this June.
  • Find prison reform organizations from the Center for Prison Reform Ready to join the fight for prison reform? Jump into this list of organizations that could use your time, resources, and care.
  • The Prison Journalism Project trains incarcerated writers to become journalists. The program serves marginalized communities by giving the targets of racialized policing a voice in the conversation about criminal legal reform.