top speakers | March 17, 2023

Juneteenth: Lavin Speakers on the Holiday's History and Legacy, and Our Continued Fight for Racial Justice

Juneteenth is the new federal holiday that marks the end of slavery. On June 19, we celebrate the strides we've made towards racial justice. Lavin is proud to represent Annette Gordon-Reed, author of On Juneteenth and one of the key voices who brought Juneteenth into the national conversation. The New York Times called her "one of the most important American historians of our time." Annette and our many other leading speakers illuminate the history and importance of this celebration. 

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Annette Gordon-Reed

The first Black person to win a Pulitzer Prize for History, Annette Gordon-Reed played a crucial role in helping Juneteenth gain national recognition. Drawing on her acclaimed book On Juneteenth, she shows us how the legacy of this holiday continues to influence us and our fight for racial justice today, and how we can keep striving for progress together.

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Nikole Hannah-Jones

“Black Americans have always been foundational to the idea of American freedom,” says Nikole Hannah-Jones. She’s the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of The 1619 Project, the hit anthology that became a #1 New York Times bestselling book and Hulu docuseries. She offers us not only a fuller understanding of our history, but also the tools to make real change today.

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Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Khalil Gibran Muhammad, award-winning author of The Condemnation of Blackness, says that Juneteenth reminds us that we all have a role to play in challenging oppression. “Juneteenth gives us a chance to look at the twin legacies of slavery and freedom, side by side,” he says, “and helps us to reflect on how far we’ve come and how far we still must go.”

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Jelani Cobb

Jelani Cobb has spent his whole career investigating inequality and how the past continues to affect us today. As the Dean of Columbia Journalism School, a New Yorker staff writer, and co-editor of that magazine’s anthology The Matter of Black Lives, Jelani shows us why Juneteenth still matters today, and how we can learn from history to create a better future.

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Michelle Coles

Although freedom was promised to the enslaved Black people over a century ago, Michelle Coles says that Black Americans continue to be "left out of that full promise." Michelle is the award-winning YA author of Black Was the Ink, as well as a former Department of Justice civil rights attorney. She shows us how we can make the promised freedom a reality for everyone.

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