APRIL Logo with the words, "The United Voice  of Independent Living in Rural America."

Commemorating Juneteenth

Black and white photo of a Black woman with hair pinned up. She is looking to the sky with her hand under her chin as if in thought.  Text above her photo says Juneteenth. A day of recognition, restoration, celebration. APRIL logo in bottom right corner.


As we collectively HONOR and COMMEMORATE the Juneteenth holiday, APRIL would like to encourage you to revisit and expand your knowledge about the history of our country, the atrocities committed by the United States against people of color, as well as what we can do now, moving forward, specifically as white Americans.


Most of us are familiar with the Emancipation Proclamation which was signed by President Abraham Lincoln in September 1862 and went into effect on January 1, 1863. We learned about that in High School (although learning that history is now in grave jeopardy in many states). But few of us learned about what Juneteenth was and the significance of it.


A full 2 ½ years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, at least 250,000 slaves in Texas continued to be kept in bondage – having no idea they were now free. In fact, many enslavers in the South moved to Texas because it was seen as a haven for slavery. It wasn’t until Federal troops arrived in Galveston, TX on June 19, 1865, to take control of the state and ensure that all slaves were freed. In 1979, Texas was the first state to make Juneteenth a holiday. It took another 42 years for our Federal Government of the United States to make Juneteenth a federal holiday in 2021! Congress passed a resolution establishing Juneteenth as a Federal Holiday and President Biden signed it into law June 17, 2021. That in itself tells us all, that we still have so much work to do.

As we HONOR the Juneteenth holiday and remember what it all means, the history of what we have done in this country, the systemic racism that still exists in every aspect of life today, APRIL would like to encourage all of you to take it one step further and put your minds into ACTION. And, if you are willing and able to, we encourage you to PAY IT FORWARD. Making sure future generations know the truth is up to us all!


Below are some suggestions and links for how to do that.


The first link (below) is a list of things we can do to honor Juneteenth. 

Click Here 10 Things We Want White People to Do to Celebrate Juneteenth - Wayside Youth & Family Support Network


The second link (below) is a list of books we can all read to understand better the history of this country and the deeply damaging things that have been done to people of color.

Click Here for 16 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Books Our Staff Love - Wayside Youth & Family Support Network


Secondly, we would encourage you to seek out and support black-owned (preferably local) businesses.

Click Here to for Directories to Find Black-Owned Small Businesses | CO- by US Chamber of Commerce


Donate or volunteer to causes that address racial inequities and disparities. Visit an exhibit or museum dedicated to Black culture. But most of all – we must NOT run from the truth. We must FACE our history squarely, look that evil dead in its eyes and PROMISE to everyone, especially to ourselves…. NEVER AGAIN. I WILL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO MAKE THIS WORLD A BETTER, MORE EQUITABLE, MORE LOVING, MORE WELCOMING, MORE CARING, MORE EQUAL PLACE!!!

In solidarity,

Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL)



Resources to Support Black Owned Businesses


Directories to Find Black-Owned Small Businesses | CO- by US Chamber of Commerce


More websites, apps, and databases meant for finding Black-owned businesses:


While it's impossible to list them all — remember, that's what Google is for — here are some Black-owned businesses you can start supporting right away:


Apparel and accessories:






Fitness and health


Food and beverages


Home goods