Juneteenth is the longest-running African American holiday in the United States and marks the end of slavery

By Georgia Slater
June 19, 2020 09:33 AM
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Taylor Swift
Jamie McCarthy/WireImage

Taylor Swift is doing her part in honoring the celebration of Juneteenth and voicing her support for making the day a national holiday.

On Friday, the singer shared a thoughtful message across her social media pages about Juneteenth —  June 19, which marks the day that slavery ended in America — sharing why she believes the holiday needs to be properly honored and people need to be educated on its significance.

In her post, the "Lover" artist included a video from The Root which describes Juneteenth in detail, and explains "why it should be celebrated as a National holiday."

To commemorate the important day, Swift said she decided to give all of her employees June 19th off "in honor of Freedom Day from now on and to continue to educate [herself] on the history that brought us to this present moment."

"For my family, everything that has transpired recently gives us an opportunity to reflect, listen, and reprogram any part of our lives that hasn’t been loudly and ferociously anti-racist, and to never let privilege lie dormant when it could be used to stand up for what’s right," Swift, 30, concluded the post.

For 155 years, the black community has celebrated Juneteenth, a day that commemorates the end of slavery and the independence of countless enslaved people that actually came two-and-a-half years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

The holiday, also known as Black Independence Day, isn't widely taught in schools and is recognized in 47 states as a state holiday. National recognition of the holiday has yet to occur.

In 2019, the United States Senate passed a resolution recognizing the day as "Juneteenth Independence Day," but the House has not approved it. North Dakota, South Dakota and Hawaii do not recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday.

Swift has been speaking out over the past few weeks to aid in the fight against racial injustice following the killing of George Floyd.

Last Friday, the singer shared that she wants statues that symbolize "hideous patterns of racism" removed from her adopted home state of Tennessee.

The Grammy-winning artist called on the Capitol Commission and the Tennessee Historical Commission to "please consider the implications of how hurtful it would be to continue fighting for these monuments" in a lengthy statement shared on her Instagram.

"As a Tennessean, it makes me sick that there are monuments standing in our state that celebrate racist historical figures who did evil things," Swift wrote. "Edward Carmack and Nathan Bedford Forrest were DESPICABLE figures in our state history and should be treated as such."

In the caption of her post, Swift added, "When you fight to honor racists, you show black Tennesseans and all of their allies where you stand, and you continue this cycle of hurt. You can’t change history, but you can change this."

The pop star spoke about supporting the Black Lives Matter movement earlier last week, asserting in a tweet that "changes MUST be made."

Taylor Swift

"Racial injustice has been ingrained deeply into local and state governments," she wrote on Twitter. "In order for policies to change, we need to elect people who will fight against police brutality and racism of any kind. #BlackLivesMatter."

The "Cruel Summer" songstress followed up with a Twitter thread, encouraging people to vote in order to fight against police brutality and racism.

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
  • ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
  • National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.