Today is Juneteenth, which marks the anniversary of the day that the news of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached Texas, the last place to hear it (and more than two years after the fact). I strongly urge you to read this piece by Jamelle Bouie in the New York Times called Why Juneteenth Matters, if you haven’t already done so. In part, it says:
Juneteenth may mark just one moment in the struggle for emancipation, but the holiday gives us an occasion to reflect on the profound contributions of enslaved black Americans to the cause of human freedom. It gives us another way to recognize the central place of slavery and its demise in our national story. And it gives us an opportunity to remember that American democracy has more authors than the shrewd lawyers and erudite farmer-philosophers of the Revolution, that our experiment in liberty owes as much to the men and women who toiled in bondage as it does to anyone else in this nation’s history.
There are and have been many movements to make Juneteenth a national or federal holiday, as this Time article lays out. I signed the petition mentioned in that piece, started by 93 year-old Opal Lee from Forth Worth, Texas. It was almost to 500,000 signatures when I signed it; there is currently legislation in the House and the Senate to make today a national or federal holiday. You can call or use Resist-Bot to let your congresspeople know that you support this.
This week there has been a movement to buy (at least!) two books from Black authors to Black out next week’s bestseller list, and there is still time to make an impact on that. If you don’t have room in your budget to buy books right now, my suggestion is that you make sure you’ve reviewed any books by Black authors that you enjoyed on Amazon and Goodreads; that really helps sell them to other people. Further, Vroman’s has a great list of Black-owned bookstores, and if you need book suggestions, this is an excellent list on Read It Forward, compiled by other Black authors. Let us know what you bought! I’ve bought Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan (which I am reading now and it’s GREAT), and Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson. Over the weekend, I read Samantha Irby’s deeply hilarious Wow, No Thank You. (All book links in today’s post go to Semicolon Bookstore in Chicago, and The Lit Bar in the Bronx, and are not affiliate links.)
Speaking of Samantha Irby, she had a funny piece in the New Yorker this week about the Cheesecake Factory: What Is the Wait?
I thought this was important to amplify, from Tiffany Reid at Business of Fashion (where I believe you have to register to read it, full disclosure): A Racist Incident at Fashion Week
This is a really, really good interview with Gabrielle Union, in Self. (The photos, snapped by her stepdaughter Zaya, are fantastic.) She is great. (And she recently optioned the Tia Williams book The Perfect Find for Netflix; if you haven’t read that book, DO IT, because it’s excellent.)
At Town and Country, by Susan Fales-Hill: A Black Mother’s Letter to Her Daughter
Amazing, and logistics-y, at the New York Times: How a March for Black Trans Lives Became a Huge Event.
Related, at Cosmo: How to Support the Black Trans Lives Matter Movement
I thought this was interesting (and educational) at Complex: The Influential Black Fashion Designers You Should Know. (This came out during Black history month in February, but I found it while researching something else and I think you’ll appreciate it.)
Also at Complex, this is great: Meet the Vintage Dealers Who Source the T-Shirts Issa Rae Wears on ‘Insecure’
You probably saw these last week, and they are SO great. Via British Vogue: Edward Enninful’s Top 10: The Best #VogueChallenge Reader Covers
These next two pieces were mentioned last week, but I wanted to re-up them here in case you missed them:
And at Politico: Native American tribes thwarted in efforts to get coronavirus data