Today, June 19th, marks 155 years of Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration honoring the end of slavery in the United States. While the holiday is recognized in most states and has long been celebrated by the Black community, renewed national attention to the legacy of white supremacy in America has drawn additional attention to Juneteenth this year.
At the Center, we join our Black friends and colleagues in celebrating and honoring Juneteenth.
For non-Black allies, let Juneteenth become a day of self-reflection and education. A collective movement toward an anti-racist society requires individual work and action. For those of us in the education sphere, in which structural racism leads to persistent outcome gaps between Black students and their non-Black peers, this work is absolutely essential. As advocates for students with disabilities, we are also aware that Black students in this community face additional hurdles rooted in bias—and that to improve outcomes for all students, we must actively work to dismantle structures of oppression.
Today at the Center we are holding space for this important work, and we invite you to join us in reading, listening, and learning.
Looking for suggestions? Education Week has shared a compilation of lesson plans and material about racism, policing, and protest for teachers. Teaching Tolerance, which has engaged educators in this work for years, also has extensive resources for educators to use when teaching about racial equity in general and Juneteenth in particular. Additionally, the Educating All Learners Alliance has compiled a library of equity-focused content for educators during COVID-19.