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Episode 69: Honoring Juneteenth & Freedom for All (with Alice Faye Duncan)

On June 19, 1865, US soldiers walked the streets of Galveston, Texas, proclaiming freedom for enslaved people living in the state. Our country now recognizes this important day as our newest federal holiday, Juneteenth. And this week, we are honored to learn more about Juneteenth from author and librarian Alice Faye Duncan! Alice Faye shares about her brand-new children’s book, Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free, which tells the inspiring story of Opal Lee. Known far and wide as the “grandmother of Juneteenth,” Opal Lee led the charge into her 90s to make the Juneteenth a federal holiday, showing the world what it means to be a light of courage. Alice Faye also gives us some tips on how to talk to kids about hard moments in history and how to meaningfully observe the day with friends and family. This is a don’t-miss episode of the show, so join us as we lift up the tireless efforts of courage and the tenacity to continue doing the work to provide liberation around the world. Because as Alice Faye reminds us, “It is in the struggle of life that we find our bravery. It is in the struggle of life where we most shine.


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Educational Books to Share With Your Kids


Bonus – Good TV Alert!

Thought-Provoking Quotes

Let the success and the joy and the liberation that happened on Juneteenth be a sign and a symbol of what is possible in the Ukraine. Let Juneteenth be a symbol of what is possible in Afghanistan. Their Juneteenth might not be June 19th, but there is a day that liberation can come if we all band together to make that the reality for those who, unlike me, don't have at this time, a quiet street where there are no tanks.” Alice Faye Duncan 

“You can be the richest, most privileged individual ever, but your life will be visited by trials and tribulation. And therefore, when we talk about sharing the difficult histories that happened in American history or world history with children, we should approach it from the position of courage and bravery. Like, ‘Look kiddo, today I'm going to tell you a story about bravery. Today I'm going to tell you a story about courage.’ That way, when the child is looking at that story, they're looking at it through the lens of something that's also applicable to their own lives.” Alice Faye Duncan 

“When we want our kids to do brave things and make courageous decisions, then we show them books about folks who are doing brave and courageous things. I don't care who those people are. They can be Black people, they can be white people, they can be Asian people. They can be blind, they can be in wheelchairs. When we want our kids to do great things, and also when we want our kids to have empathy for others, as far as I'm concerned, each of us is a person of privilege. And we need to activate our power by sharing it with others.” Alice Faye Duncan 

“The way that we can make our Juneteenth is to be intentional and to make connections beyond the lines you typically find yourself within.” Alice Faye Duncan 

A Blessing for Your Week

I hope you remember to dance with those who dance, and mourn with those who mourn—and why each is so important.

I hope you remember to remember the struggle that so many have carried over the years—and the struggle they still carry—and to keep your eyes open for ways you could relieve their burden.

And I hope you also remember to celebrate, to make space for the joy of being free. May you share in that joy with your siblings at home and far away, who share different lives and experiences but who all share one big heart.

Simplicity Tip of the Week

It’s amazing what happens when one person has the courage to stand up and say, “I think we can do this differently.” 

One of the easiest ways to show kids that they can also be agents for good in the world is to read them stories of people who’ve been brave. You can read more of Alice Faye’s books, or read about Malala or Ruby Bridges or Greta Thunberg—the list goes on and on. We’ll have a list of books you can share with your kids over on the show notes page at emilyley.com.

Pre-Order Emily’s Kids Book!
  • You’re Always Enough: And More Than I Hoped For

  • Resources, Links, Mentions from This Episode
  • Children’s book - Opal Lee and What It Means to be Free by Alice Faye Duncan

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