By Katilyn Thomas
Celebrating Pride and Juneteenth Month with your kids is a wonderful way to teach them about diversity, equality, and the importance of acceptance.
What Is Pride Month?
Pride Month is an annual celebration observed in June to honor the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning) community. It is a time for LGBTQ+ individuals and their allies to come together, raise awareness, and celebrate the progress made in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights.
Pride Month has its roots in the Stonewall Riots, which took place in New York City in June 1969. The riots were a series of demonstrations and protests by members of the LGBTQ+ community in response to police raids at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village. The events at Stonewall were a catalyst for the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement (Hope, 2022).
Pride Month is an opportunity to acknowledge the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community and to advocate for equal rights, acceptance, and inclusivity. It serves as a reminder of the ongoing work needed to ensure that everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, can live authentically and with dignity.
What Is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, is an annual observance that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved Black Americans in the United States. It is celebrated on June 19th each year.
Juneteenth originated in Texas and marks the date when Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, in 1865, and issued General Order No. 3, which proclaimed the freedom of enslaved people in Texas, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Juneteenth represents a significant milestone in the long struggle for Black liberation from slavery (Goertzel).
The observance of Juneteenth has grown over the years, and it has become an important occasion for reflection, remembrance, and education. It serves as a reminder of the injustices of slavery and the ongoing fight for equality and social justice. It is also a time to celebrate the resilience, strength, and contributions of Black Americans to the fabric of American society.
Here are some ideas to help you celebrate and educate your children about these important events:
- Learn the history: Take some time to research and learn about the history of Pride and Juneteenth. Explain to your kids the significance of each event and why they are celebrated.
- Read books: There are many children’s books available that discuss LGBTQ+ topics and the history of Pride, as well as books that focus on the history and significance of Juneteenth. Read these books with your children to start important conversations.
- Children-Friendly Pride Books:
- Create crafts: Engage your kids in craft activities related to Pride and Juneteenth. They can make rainbow-themed artwork, create Pride flags, or design collages that celebrate diversity and freedom. Encourage them to express their creativity and discuss the significance of their creations.
- Children-Friendly Pride Crafts
- Rainbow Handprint Art: Help your child create a colorful rainbow using their handprints. Paint each finger a different color of the rainbow and have them stamp their handprints in an arc shape to form a rainbow. This craft celebrates diversity and inclusivity (Lording, 2023).
- Pride Flag Collage: Provide your child with colored paper or craft foam in the colors of the Pride flag (rainbow). Let them cut out different shapes or strips of each color and glue them onto a larger piece of paper or cardboard to create their own Pride flag collage (Foy, 2020).
- Children-Friendly Juneteenth Crafts
- Storytelling Quilt: Talk to your child about the tradition of quilting and its importance in African American culture. Provide them with fabric scraps, construction paper, or felt. Encourage them to cut out shapes and symbols that represent freedom, equality, and Juneteenth. Help them arrange and glue these pieces onto a larger piece of fabric or paper to create a storytelling quilt (Parenti, 2020).
- Juneteenth Drum: Help your child decorate an empty coffee can or a cardboard tube to resemble a drum. Use markers, paints, or colored paper to create vibrant designs and patterns. They can use the drum to celebrate and make joyful sounds during Juneteenth festivities (Jones-Choi, 2022).
- Children-Friendly Pride Crafts
- Discuss allyship and activism: Talk to your kids about what it means to be an ally and how they can support their LGBTQ+ and Black peers. Teach them about standing up against discrimination and the importance of treating everyone with kindness and respect.
- Support LGBTQ+ and Black-owned businesses: Take the opportunity to support LGBTQ+ and Black-owned businesses. It’s a great way to teach your children about the importance of economic empowerment.
A Word From WIN
While celebrating Pride and Juneteenth can be a positive experience, it is also important to understand the injustice and discrimination presented to the LGBTQ+ and Black communities, both historically and currently. No matter how you choose to celebrate, the most important part is coming together as a family to respect and honor all that Juneteenth and Pride means.
Donate to Causes that Empower
Organizations like the National Urban League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) fight for racial equality and also have programs benefitting Black youth. Color of Change and The Black Youth Project are also impactful organizations fighting racial injustice.
In fact, you and your family could give your time at a youth shelter, a clothing drive, or at an event that is raising money for the cause. Notable nationwide organizations in support of the LGBTQ+ community include The Trevor Project , The Gill Foundation, and It Gets Better. Take the time to investigate the mission and work of the numerous entities that help and make a donation to the cause.
Foy, C. (2020). Make a Rainbow Ribbon Flag. https://www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-and-experiments/make-a-rainbow-ribbon-flag
Goertzel, L. Celebrating Juneteenth. https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/celebrating-juneteenth
Hope, A. (2022). How to Explain Pride Month to Your Child. https://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/how-to-explain-pride-month-to-a-child/
Jones-Choi, A. (2022) Activities and Crafts to Honor Juneteenth. https://mom.com/momlife/activities-and-crafts-to-honor-juneteenth
Lording, A. (2023). Handprint Rainbows. https://kinderart.com/art-lessons/multic/handprint-rainbows/
Parenti, D. (2020). The Stories Behind African American Quilts. https://www.artshelp.com/the-stories-behind-african-american-quilts/