On June 19, 1865, a Union general in Galveston, Texas, issued an order proclaiming that all enslaved people in the state were free. Because Texas was the last state to acknowledge slavery’s abolition, that order effectively ended chattel slavery in the United States.
Commemorated ever since by Black communities across the country, Juneteenth (June + nineteenth) has in recent times become a day when Americans pause to reflect on the injustice of slavery and racism while celebrating Black history and culture.
Yes, it took 156 very long years for Juneteenth to become a national holiday, but we’re hopeful that a national reckoning with the legacy of slavery and racism has finally begun.
America’s True Independence Day
Juneteenth is often referred to as America’s true Independence Day because, let’s be honest, only white, male Americans won their freedom on July 4, 1776. So it’s a good day to look at where we’ve been and to get to work becoming the inclusive, just, and equitable nation we want to be.
For Juneteenth this year, we created a handy Ben & Jerry’s resource guide to help do just that. We hope you enjoy it.
If we don’t understand the past, we’re bound to keep making the same mistakes in the future. Let’s make sure we all learn about America’s true history, so that we can all move forward together.
- From Slavery to Mass Incarceration
- 6 Facts about Racial Justice that Will Change the Way You Think about America
- From Brown v. Board of Education to the School-to-Prison Pipeline: The Backlash to the Historic Decision
- Congressman John Lewis: A Lifetime of Good Trouble
- 5 Questions About Reparations: Answered
- Words Matter: How “Unity” Became A Scapegoat for Accountability on Racial Justice
Criminal Legal System Reform
Many critics say that the American criminal legal system is broken. We’ve come to understand that it’s working just as intended: For the benefit of the wealthy, white, and powerful. Here’s how that happened, and what we can do to change it.
- Transforming the System: Front End Criminal Justice Reform
- Front End Criminal Justice Reform: Ending Money Bail
- Why Ben & Jerry's Cares About Front End Criminal Justice Reform (And You Should, Too)
- Front End Criminal Justice Reform: Students Need Counselors, Not Cops
- Front End Criminal Justice Reform: Stop Unnecessary Prosecutions
- Front End Criminal Justice Reform: Invest in Schools, Not Prisons
- What the Fudge Is Qualified Immunity, And Why Does It Matter?
Transforming Public Safety
Instead of pouring billions of dollars into police, jails, and prisons, this country should be funding community programs and services that actually help people and help address the root causes of crime.
- Defund the Police and Invest in Our Communities
- Why We Must Dismantle the Prison Industrial Complex
- Have You Heard About the People’s Response Act? Here’s What You Need to Know
- Data Shows No Correlation Between Policing Spending and the Crime Rate — So Why Is Funding Going Up?
- 3 Cities that Are Creating True Public Safety by Investing in Mental Health Services
- Let's Be Blunt About Cannabis Justice
Climate and Environmental Justice
The climate crisis affects all of us, but not equally. Its impact is felt most by communities of color and low-income communities, the same people and places that have been hit hardest by pollution for generations.
- 4 Reasons Why Climate Change Is a Racial Justice Issue
- 3 Reasons to Make this Earth Day about Climate Justice
- St. James Parish, Louisiana: Resisting the Formosa Plastics Plant
- Climate Justice Now! How Climate Change Hurts Farmers In The Global South the Most
Over the past few years, we’ve had the pleasure and honor of speaking with some remarkable people who are doing a remarkable amount of good.
- When History Replaces Legend: An Exploration of Racism in America With Jeffery Robinson
- The Art of Change the Whirled: A Q&A with BMike
- Correcting the Narrative about White Supremacy in Our History: A New Interview with Jeffery Robinson
- “This Is Our Moment, America”: An Interview with Attorney Benjamin Crump
- Creating Art That’s Rooted in Activism: An Interview with Laci Jordan
- “I Compare it to Being Buried Alive”: An Interview with Crystal Munoz on the Criminalization of Cannabis
Things We All Can Do to Help
Changing the world is hard! But we’re all in this together. This Juneteenth, let’s celebrate our nation’s ability to acknowledge and learn from our past as we rededicate ourselves to the unending, necessary, and joyful work of forming a more perfect union. Not sure what you can do? Here’s a start:
- 12 Ways You Can Help Eradicate White Supremacy
- 5 Ways To Talk About Criminal Justice Reform At Your Family Gathering
- 5 Steps to Achieving Lasting Change in Your Community
- 3 Ways to Talk About Transforming Public Safety This Thanksgiving
- Introducing Into the Mix, Our New Podcast Dedicated to Art, Activism, and Social Change