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Juneteenth: Reflecting and Celebrating Black Lives

Tomorrow, June 19th 2021, is the 156th Juneteenth celebration in the United States. We would like to take a moment as a community to honor the historical origins of this important milestone towards the freedom of Black people, reflect on the progress we still need to make, and (crucially) amplify Black joy._

Information technology can be a force for progress— But it so often amplifies prejudice, biases and oppression. So if you ask "What does this have to do with software development?", the answer is "Where do we start?". Our industry is building the future, and if we do not learn about our human history or pay a microscope on inequities around us, what are we even doing?

Last year on June 19th, we shared a post that includes some of the history behind Juneteenth: Black Independence Day in the United States. If you're wondering what Juneteenth is all about (which might especially be the case if you're not located in the U.S.!), we recommend you take a look at it as a starting point.

This year, we wanted to share some ideas for celebrating Juneteenth worldwide — specifically for software developers. Because it is our responsibility as technologists to support Black freedom, joy, and genius as we build the future together.

Learn about the organizations dismantling our racist systems

Awesome Accomplice by DEV community member @karaaj is a great place to start...

Read the real narratives of formerly enslaved people

Thank you to community member @lethargilistic for pointing us here!

My preferred way to celebrate Juneteenth is to read some of the narratives of former slaves. The US government collected thousands of them. Enslaved people were people, and the best way to understand their humanity is to read their life stories in their own words.

In this one, a former slave recounts being informed of his freedom. It's also a great example of the immediate success of lies behind the former Confederacy's Lost Cause myth.
Lots of old people lake me say dat dey was happy in slavery, and dat dey had de worst tribulations after freedom, but I knows dey didn't have no white master and overseer lak we all had on our place. Dey both dead now I reckon, and dey no use talking 'bout de dead, but I know I been gone long ago iffen dat white man Saunder didn't lose his hold on me. It was de fourth day of June in 1865 I begins to live, and gwine take de picture of dat old man in de big black hat and long whiskers, setting on de gallery and talking kind to us, clean into my grave wid me. No, bess God, I ain't never seen no more black boys bleeding all up and down de back under a cat o' nine tails, and I never go by no cabin and hear no poor nigger groaning, all wrapped up in a lardy sheet no more! I hear my chillun read about General Lee, and I know he was a good man. I didn't know nothing about him den, but I know now he wasn't fighting for dat kind of white folks. Maybe dey dat kind sill yet, but dey don't show it up no more, and I got lots of white friends too. All my chillun and grandchillun been to school, and dey git along good, and I know we living in a better world, what dey ain't nobody "cussing fire to my black heart!" I sho' thank de good Lawd I got to see it.

Attend JuneteenthConf

... A free and virtual conference made for Black people in tech. Inn the words of JuneteenthConf's organizers, the conference "celebrates Black Excellence and promotes community for Black people who are severely underrepresented, overlooked, and underutilized in the tech industry."

June 19th. Register here

Get inspired by Black technologists

Because honoring Black History shouldn't be confined to one month per year.

We would love to hear how you plan to commemorate Juneteenth this year in the comments below ❤️


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