Juneteenth 2020

By Ariel Vergez

Juneteenth 2020

The Juneteenth Freedom Summer Project 

For Juneteenth 2020 we are partnering with the iMPACT20 Creative Collective for our first official human-centered advocacy project. Juneteenth is the commemoration of the day that slavery was finally fully abolished. Many believe that Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 was the culmination of this event, but it actually did not fully take place until a full two years later on June 19th, 1865, when General Gordon Granger went to Texas which was still actively a slave state, and read the proclamation to officially inform the enslaved people of the South that they were free. 

In addition to the commemoration of Juneteenth and in light of the global solidarity taking place in the wake of the death of George Floyd, we will also be commemorating Freedom Summer, the 1964 grassroots initiative to register Blacks in Mississippi to vote as voter registration was exceedingly low (at 5.3% throughout the state) due to suppression and access issues. Additionally, during Freedom Summer, Freedom Houses and community centers were set up to provide aide to the Black population of the South. The work of the advocates during Freedom Summer resulted in the creation of organizations like COFO, political parties, and the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Unfortunately, it also led to the murder of 3 young men: James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. They were actively working as volunteers for the Freedom Summer Project. 18 White men and women were indicted for their murder, with only 7 being convicted and receiving minor sentences. We hope to spread awareness and encourage citizens to check their voting status and update as necessary. 

2020 is the year of our Freedom Summer.

Let us own it.

Let us continue the momentum.

Let us continue the work.


THE PROJECT:

In collaboration with The iMPACT20 collective, we will be conducting a 2-part project. 

Part 1: Creating interactive yard signs to “sign-bomb” yards throughout Miami-Dade County. 

The signs will be designed using Pan-African colors of red, black, yellow and green and read: 

“FREEDOM FOR ALL MEANS _____________________.” 

The inhabitants of the house will be encouraged via a small informational flyer that is included with the sign to complete the sentence by writing in what their concept of what freedom for all means. The flyer will also include the informational blurb above that explains the commemoration of Juneteenth and Freedom Summer with this Guerilla Art event. 

The idea is for the inhabitants of the house to take a stand and define the concept of Freedom in their own voice and to share it with their neighbors.


Part 2. One of the important traditions of Juneteenth involves dressing up in your best clothes to attend celebrations. The history behind this is due to the suppression by slave owners in making enslaved peoples wear “slave cloth,” a coarse, non-descript material meant to deprive a person of their individuality and comfort. As a result, in the early days of Juneteenth, celebrators would don their fanciest clothing as a way of declaring their self-ownership, regardless of whether they were wealthy or not. 

We will be creating a themed photo backdrop and inviting friends and family travel to the locations where we will have them up (driveways of private residences), dressed up in their “Freedom Attire” (clothing that makes you feel empowered, inspired, and is an expression of your freedom) for a photoshoot. Attendees of this event will also be invited to complete the “Freedom For All Means ________” question via smaller, flyer sized versions of the yard signs. 

Photos will be shared via social media outlets, as well as recipients of the signs invited to share their photos and documentation via the hashtags #juneteenth & #theimpact20.

Digital versions of the signs will be made available as a FREE DOWNLOAD for members and friends of the iMPACT20 Collective to participate in their respective cities and states. 

We hope you can take some time to join us in celebrating FREEDOM even amongst the hard times we are currently facing. We believe time with family and friends, eating good food, and intentionally planning a moment of rest and remembrance can be soul fueling and the recharge we need to keep moving forward, together!