The Concerned Students of Middlebury would like to take this opportunity to recognize the significance of the Juneteenth holiday. June nineteenth is a date that has been widely recognized by descendants of US-based chattel slavery for decades but has begun to gather a greater level of mainstream recognition in recent years. Its significance is rooted in understanding the atrocities of slavery and institutional racism in the United States.
While many may celebrate the Fourth of July as Independence Day, it is important to recognize that the very fabric of the United States was built on the enslavement and dehumanization of Black people— human beings who were abused, traded as property, and mistreated for decades thereafter simply to uphold the ideals and values of white supremacy. These victims of systemic oppression did not see their legal emancipation until January of 1865 and in actuality, the physical manifestation of this emancipation did not occur for months or years in many cases. June nineteenth or “Juneteenth” has hence come to represent the date that many Black Americans were freed from the legal institution of slavery.
Even with this in mind, the work of dismantling structures stemming from the oppressive force of slavery continues to this day. This Juneteenth we encourage everyone to take part in working to dismantle these forces of white supremacy that persist today. We have compiled a list of different ways to engage in this work through investing in Black-owned businesses, educating ourselves on the experiences of Black people, and finding ways to enact change in the communities in which we inhabit. This list is not exhaustive (nor is it an endorsement or sponsorship of any brand) but does supply a starting point for what we can all do in this process of uplifting Black voices. Please use the above buttons to be directed to pages detailing resources having to do with each topic area. Juneteenth is representative of more than just freedom; it also represents hope for a better future. Black people in US history have experienced great suffering but also shown great resilience in the face of systemic, intentional, and state-sanctioned oppression. We all must work collectively to create a future in which we are all truly free. This future is arrived at by investing in marginalized communities, advocating for justice, and implementing change that furthers these goals. We hope you will use these resources to begin or continue partaking in this work. Best, Concerned Students of Middlebury Executive Board