Juneteenth Patch Program
The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 declared an end to slavery in the United States of America. However, slavery didn’t fully end in the USA until June 19th, 1865, when Texas was the final state to free enslaved persons at the end of the Civil War. Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, commemorates this milestone. Juneteenth is often celebrated through a combination of parades, marches, barbecues, public speeches, and other activities. The holiday even has its own flag, which is raised each year in Galveston, Texas, to recognize the day when all Americans were finally free.
Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes is excited to debut this new patch in recognition of an important moment in American history. To earn your Juneteenth patch, you will learn about the history behind Juneteenth and current celebrations. You will also learn to connect the Juneteenth holiday to current freedom movements and are encouraged to enact positive change in your community!
There are three steps to earning your Juneteenth patch.
- Discover the history of Juneteenth by learning about traditions, celebrations, and Black freedom fighters.
- Connect with Juneteenth celebrations and social justice movements in your community.
- Carry out a Take Action project to promote and support freedom for all.
Learn about the Juneteenth holiday and Black freedom fighters by choosing one of the following three options.
Learn about the history of Juneteenth and try a celebration snack!
Read a book! You can find the following books about Juneteenth at a local library or Black-owned bookstore.
Watch this video about Juneteenth history, celebrations, and traditions:
One way that Juneteenth has traditionally been celebrated is by having a barbecue and drinking red strawberry soda. When African Americans were freed, they celebrated by drinking soda, a luxury they didn’t have while enslaved, and by eating red food—the color red symbolizes perseverance and the struggles they endured. Try out the recipe for strawberry soda, a traditional Juneteenth drink, from This Worthey Life:
Juneteenth Strawberry Soda
Ingredients: (8-10 Servings)
- 1-liter strawberry soda or lemon-lime soda
- 1 1/2 cups strawberry lemonade mix
- 1 cup homemade strawberry syrup
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, washed and sliced in half
- Fresh sprigs of mint
- Make the strawberry lemonade by combining the strawberry lemonade mix with the strawberry soda or lemon-lime soda instead of water.
- Stir in the homemade strawberry syrup (see recipe below), fresh strawberries, and fresh sprigs of mint.
- Taste and adjust sweetness to your liking.
- Pour into glasses filled with ice.
- Garnish with fresh strawberries and fresh sprigs of mint and serve.
Homemade Strawberry Syrup
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup fresh strawberries cleaned with the stems removed and cut in quarters
- 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- Place a saucepan over med-high heat and add water, sugar, prepared strawberries, and lemon juice.
- When the mixture begins to boil, use a fork or potato masher to mash the strawberries to release the juices.
- Allow the mixture to boil for an additional minute and remove from heat.
- Place a tight-fitting lid onto the saucepan and allow the strawberry syrup to steep for 10 minutes.
- Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain the syrup into a Mason jar. Store in the fridge for up to three days
Learn about important Black activists throughout history and into the present day and use your new knowledge to create a poster!
Choose a Black freedom fighter from this list and then answer the following questions: https://www.thenorthstar.com/p/29-freedomfighters
- When were they born, and where?
- How did they fight against racism and inequality?
- What is their legacy?
Use the information you learn to create a superhero poster with one of these important f igures as your hero. What injustices are they f ighting? What super skills did they use to make the world a better place?
Learn about the Juneteenth flag.
The Juneteenth flag is a combination of red, white, and blue colors with a starburst shape in the middle. While the flag itself symbolizes the end of slavery in the United States, you may not know that each individual part of the flag also contains meaning. The red, white, and blue color scheme is the same as the American flag, serving as a reminder that enslaved people and their descendants were and are Americans. The white star in the middle is meant to symbolize the Lone Star of Texas specifically, and also all 50 states united in freedom. The burst surrounding the star represents a nova, the astronomical term for a new star formation, symbolizing the new beginning for the freed enslaved people. Finally, the arc that extends across the flag is a symbolization of the new horizons for the country in the wake of emancipation for all. Watch the following video and complete your own flag to show your support of the holiday!
Create your own flag! The Juneteenth flag tells a story with symbols and helps us remember our country’s history of enslaving people and our country’s quest for freedom. Are there other stories that can be told with a flag? What other histories and freedoms should we remind ourselves of? What symbols and colors could help us do that? Create your own flag and display it! Can’t think of a real history or freedom? Feel free to make a flag using a story from a family or friend, or make up a story!
When girls collaborate with others and expand their horizons through activities and events, they make meaningful connections between what they have learned and their own lives and communities. Choose one of the following options to link your Juneteenth knowledge to celebrations and social justice movements in your community!
Attend a local Juneteenth celebration or national virtual event. Attending an event allows you to directly learn from Black activists about their work in the country and your community, and to experience the Juneteenth holiday firsthand.
Support a Black-owned business! Buying goods or food from a Black-owned business in your community has many benefits, including closing the racial wealth gap, celebrating Black cultures, strengthening the local economy, and promoting racial visibility and representation. Order food at a Black-owned restaurant in your community or shop at a Black-owned store.
Finding Black-owned Businesses in Your Community
State of Wisconsin:
National List of Black-Owned Bookstores (online orders): https://www.oprahmag.com/entertainment/books/a33497812/black-owned-bookstores/
Niche Book Bar –Milwaukee, WI:
Connect Juneteenth, Freedom Day to your own community. What freedoms are people advocating for in your community, and why are they important? This connection will allow you to see how social justice is in action in the world around you and the numerous social justice causes that exist. Look at the following resources: (Recommended for older girls)
Wisconsin Public Radio News Social Issues Archive: https://www.wpr.org/topics/social-issues
Social Justice organizations in Michigan: https://udmercy.libguides.com/SocialJustice/Organizations
Act it out activity: Girls will choose a social justice cause, acting as advocates and giving a speech or short play about why their chosen cause is important, who it affects, and what can be done to address this issue. Each group will then take turns presenting on their topic.
Contact a place in your community that is advocating for freedom and equality and ask how you can support their mission as a troop.
Share what you’ve learned about the importance of Juneteenth with at least three other people outside of your troop
Watch a Freedom Day speech. Then, write your own speech about the importance of Juneteenth and present it to your troop, friends, and family.
Write a letter to your local library requesting more books and resources on Juneteenth. Encourage them to purchase from Black-owned bookstores, if possible, explaining the positive impacts that purchasing from independent, and/or Black-owned businesses can create within local economies.
Ask your school board or principal what your school is doing to recognize Juneteenth, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Black History Month, and other important events in American history connected to racial equality.
Read a picture book about Juneteenth to younger girls. We suggest Juneteenth Jamboree by Carole Boston Weatherford or Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper
For more information on the significance of strawberry soda to the Juneteenth holiday: https://www.hitc. com/en-gb/2020/06/19/juneteenth-why-do-people-drink-strawberry-soda-find-a-recipe-here/ For the Juneteenth strawberry soda recipe: https://www.awortheyread.com/strawberry-soda/ Juneteenth Freedom Day speech example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eniaztlpa30 This article discusses the importance of supporting Black-owned businesses and can be used to guide your own discussion on this topic with girls: https://www.greenamerica.org/blog/6-reasons-support-black-owned-businesses For more information on the symbology of the Juneteenth flag: https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/19/us/freedom-day-juneteenth-flag-meaning-trnd/index.html