Juneteenth has historically been a day in American history that’s not celebrated enough, but major brands and companies are hoping to change that this year.
In light of recent tragic events, Black people and POC’s demands for social justice and real change in this country have sparked the start of a new revolution encouraging the world to take notes and listen.
Storytelling during this time has taken on a new meaning for Black voices and to amplify those voices, Instagram is continuing their #ShareBlackStories initiative by partnering with three Black artists — Andrea Pippins, Marco Cheatham, and Mina Elise — to design a series of new stickers in celebration of Juneteenth.
#ShareBlackStories has become a year-round storytelling movement on Instagram that amplifies Black voices and encourages freedom of expression and unique perspectives.
For this year’s Freedom Day commemoration, Pippins, Cheatham, and Elise wanted to share their art which shows who they are as individuals and what this day means to them.
“My art reflects my identity as a Black, queer, femme and it always feels like something bigger than me,” Elise said. “I want to share my work with people like me and show how Black and brown artistry helps you heal, communicate, and express yourself. ”
With all that’s happening in the world, Juneteenth should be a day for Black people to acknowledge the beauty that is Blackness.
“I feel that it’s really important to show how we connect with one another and how together we can heal through these traumatic experiences,” said Pippins. “I wanted to show the solidarity that emerges between different people coming together to share a message and ignite a movement.”
As the world joins us in today’s celebration, it’s important to note the historical context behind Juneteenth, a holiday that has never been officially celebrated by greater America nor has it been widely taught in our educational institutions.
“The whole idea of Juneteenth, over the last few years, was something new to me,” Cheatham revealed. “I don’t remember it being taught in school, but in the last year or so, I began understanding the value and meaning behind it which I’m still learning about.”
Now that Cheatham knows the meaning, he’s showing what Juneteenth means to him through his art.
“The stickers I designed show an uplifting point of view of what Juneteenth means to me — I wanted to portray the loving aspect of Juneteenth through the embrace of two people who have love for each other and are building each other up,” he said.
In addition to the new sticker designs, Instagram has also adopted other updates on their platform. The platform is promoting their Racial Justice AR Effect Collection made by Black creators, boosting social-justice non-profit orgs with their donations tool, and adding a well-being tab to the Explore page. The tab displays racial justice guides that give access to more expert organizations and publishers supporting actions for racial justice.
Some of the guides include:
NAACP: Shares thoughts, messages of support around NAACP’s #WeAreDoneDying campaign.
Weird Enough HQ: Artists That Bring Me Joy.
Equal Justice Initiative: How Black people can support their mental health right now.
Child Mind Institute: Provides info on talking to kids about race and racial issues.
The Conscious Kid: Tips on how to talk to children about racism and race relations.
As we continue our fight for justice in this country, we must stay the course and strive to turn this moment in time into a movement that will eradicate the systemic racism plaguing America.
Black voices and art have always had a place in the revolution and the work of these Black artists are just a small step toward uplifting more creators who also have something to say.
Check out some of the artists’ sticker designs below.