As protests and pleas for racial justice continue across the country, this year’s celebration of Juneteenth is as significant as ever. Some of you may accordingly ask: what exactly is Juneteenth?
The holiday commemorates the end of slavery, when Union Army Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that all slaves in the United States had been freed. Juneteenth is, to put it simply, one of the most pivotal pieces of Black history rarely taught in school.
So while we wait for societal reform to more equitably represent and protect Black people and Black history, take the time this Friday to teach your kids about Juneteenth and what it means.
For instance, the Harriet Tubman Museum is offering a Juneteenth virtual opening of the museum, which will include guest speakers, live music and a virtual tour of the new museum.
However, there is also an array of local in-person events taking place to celebrate the holiday. A block in Petworth is hosting a Front Yard Festival for Justice that will include nine minutes of banging pots — from an acceptably safe distance, of course — followed by a minute of silence to honor George Floyd.
In Arlington, there will be a Juneteenth Bike Ride for Racial Justice — a five-mile escapade from Northside Social Coffee & Wine to the Lincoln Memorial. Participants are encouraged to donate to the Fairfax NAACP.
Other in-person events include a 3 p.m. rally against police brutality and racism at the Silver Spring Civic Building and a 5 p.m. protest beginning at Christ Congregational Church, also in Silver Spring.
As far as the rest of the weekend goes, here are seven more ways to have some fun as a family, including a few Father’s Day events.
Thursday, June 18
Raising Antiracist Kids
One of the most crucial ways to help combat racism in this country is to teach children at a young age about what racism is and how to be actively antiracist. That very conversation is one that will be discussed at this virtual event between Derecka Purnell and Ibram X. Kendi, author of the new children’s book “AntiRacist Baby.” Tickets are $5 but free to people with low-income. “Solidarity donations” of $25 are also accepted. 5-6:30 p.m.
Why one local mom brought her kids to a Black Lives Matter protest in D.C.
Friday, June 19
LGBTQ+ Youth Chat
While formal Pride gatherings won’t happen this year due to the pandemic, there are still ways to celebrate. Capital Pride is hosting a live chat for LGBTQ+ teens to meet and talk with like-minded peers. It’s always beneficial for kids to be able to relate to others like them, so whether they want to learn more about their queerness or simply connect with new people, this virtual chat is designed for them. The event is free, but registration is required. 4-5:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 20
Books for Dads
To celebrate Father’s Day, Rainbow Families is hosting a free story time for moms, dads, LGBTQ+ parents and their kids. The Zoom event will feature readings of popular children’s books, such as Dr. Seuss’s “I Love Pop,” Sophie Beer’s “Love Makes a Family” and Eric Carle’s “I Love Dad with The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” While the event is free, registration is required. 11:30 a.m-noon.
Meet a Paleontologist
Join the Natural History Museum and paleontologist Laura Soul for a free live webinar focused on all things dinosaurs. Perfect for an early Father’s Day activity, there’ll be a story about an extinct marine reptile called the Tylosaurus and a fun art activity for the whole family to enjoy. After the reading, Soul will be hosting a live Q&A to answer any and all questions about dinosaurs. The event will be free on Zoom, but registration is required. 11-11:30 a.m.
West African Music
This weekend’s Strathmore Arts Family Jam Session will feature the music and instruments of West Africa, led by musician Amadou Kouyate. Join Kouyate as he performs traditional and modern compositions with instruments such as the djembe and koutiro drums, and more. The event will be streamed live on Strathmore Arts Facebook page and is free for all to attend. 10:15-11 a.m.
Sunday, June 21
A History of Dads
Is your dad a self-proclaimed history buff? If so, ThingsToDoDC is hosting a virtual Father’s Day Tour, examining what popular historical and celebrity figures were like, as dads. The tour will look at notable fathers such as George Washington, Paul Newman, Teddy Roosevelt, Stephen King and more. Tickets start at $10, but if you buy one ticket, you can bring your Dad for free. 10:30 a.m-noon.
Dad’s Day Game Day
Dads just want to have fun, and The Lane Social Club in Ivy City is prepared for just that. They’re opening up their roof for dads to play classic table games. Whether Dad wants to relive the glory days of college or simply have fun with the family, come out for two hours of socially distant fun. Tables for two are $50, and tables for four are $100. Reservations—and face masks—are required. 1-5 p.m.