Skimm'd while getting ready to celebrate Juneteenth

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Skimm'd while getting ready to celebrate Juneteenth

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Quote of the Day

"You are an incredible woman" – President Biden to Opal Lee – the 94-year-old woman who's been fighting (and marching) to make Juneteenth a federal holiday for decades.


The Story

Juneteenth is officially a federal holiday.

Tell me more.

On June 19, 1865, news of the Emancipation Proclamation finally began to reach enslaved people in Texas – more than two years after President Lincoln signed it. Black Americans have long honored Juneteenth. And until this week, 48 states and DC recognized it but only four (TX, NY, VA, WA) gave state employees the day off. Now, after a unanimous vote in the Senate and a less unanimous vote in the House, President Biden signed Juneteenth into law. It's the US's 11th federal holiday and the first since MLK Day was added in 1983. And since Juneteenth this year falls on a weekend (tomorrow), it will be observed today, with 2 million federal employees getting a last-minute day off. But while Juneteenth is a day to celebrate, there's still a lot of progress to be made. Looking at you...

States...The US doesn't have any federal requirements for teaching Black history, leaving it in the hands of states, schools, or teachers. So far, more than a dozen states intro'd or passed bills to ban critical race theory – which explores the idea that systemic racism is present in US history and institutions. And a number of GOP-led states have introduced and passed bills to restrict voting rights including shortening the early voting period, reducing ballot drop boxes, and adding more requirements for absentee ballots – disproportionately impacting Black and minority voters.

The fed gov...The Biden admin is also struggling to make moves. Senate Dems are pushing for a sweeping voting rights legislation, but they haven't made any progress. Biden also failed to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act by his May 25 deadline. And Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is holding up a bill that would make lynching a federal hate crime because it might "conflate lesser crimes with lynching." Let's not forget the delay on the $20 Harriet Tubman bill either.

Bank accounts…Because of systemic racism in housing, education, and employment, many Black families' wealth has been stalled for decades. The average wealth of a white family is at least seven times more than that of a Black family. And it's even worse for Black women. There also hasn't been much progress on reparations. But Evanston, Illinois, became the first US city to make it available to its Black residents. And California launched a task force to study and recommend reparations.


Making Juneteenth an official federal holiday is a step in the right direction. But Black Americans are still being left behind as lawmakers find common ground on symbolic moves rather than actual change.


Now that Juneteenth is officially a federal holiday, here are some ways to honor it:

  • Celebrate. Essence compiled a list of events happening around the country.

  • Support Black-owned businesses. We've got some ideas here and here.

  • Educate yourself. We've got resources to help you learn about systemic racism in the US, and how you can be an ally in the fight against racism. Plus, this week's ep of "Skimm This" takes a look at how companies have been thinking about diversity, equity, and inclusion differently over the last year.

And Also...This

What's kept the Supremes busy…

The Affordable Care Act. Yesterday, the Supreme Court threw out a lawsuit challenging the health care law for a third time. It all stems from the individual mandate – part of the ACA that requires everyone to have health insurance, or pay a penalty. In 2017, Congress set that penalty to $0 – basically nullifying the mandate. And since the mandate was a key reason SCOTUS greenlighted the law in the first place, Texas and 17 other Republican-led states sued, arguing that without the mandate the law was unconstitutional. Now, the Supremes are passing on the case, saying the $0 penalty doesn't hurt the states – which means health care stays in place for nearly 31 million Americans. President Biden said it's time to "keep building" on the law and expand health care to more people. Some Republicans are going back to the drawing board to try to enact health care policy changes in Congress.

Same-sex adoption. Yesterday, the high court ruled local govs have to work with foster care agencies even if they reject same-sex couples. In 2018, city officials in Philadelphia learned that Catholic Social Services (CSS) wouldn't consider gay couples for adoption. So they stopped placing children with the agency. CSS sued, citing the First Amendment right to freedom of religion. Now, the Supremes agree, saying religion can be an exception. It's the latest ruling upholding religious freedoms. And comes during Pride Month. A Philadelphia city official called the ruling a "difficult and disappointing setback." And LGBTQ+ advocates said it was a defeat in the fight for equality.

What's got plans for your medicine cabinet…

The Biden admin. Yesterday, it announced a $3.2 billion plan to develop antiviral pills for COVID-19 and other illnesses. While people get antibiotics for all sorts of reasons (hi, gross pink eye), it's much harder to develop a pill to fight viral infections. Enter, America's checkbook. Last year, the Trump admin's Operation Warp Speed promised to pay up if big pharma developed COVID-19 vaccines. Spoiler alert: that panned out. Now, the Biden admin wants to use the same playbook to get companies to invest in antiviral pills to treat COVID-19, the flu, other viral illnesses. The goal: hedge our bets on COVID-19, give the vaccine hesitant something to be not-so-hesitant about, and prep for the next viral problem. But antivirals are hard to get right – and it's still unclear if this initiative will succeed.

What scientists haven't ironed out…

Wrinkles. A study this week revealed that it's probably impossible to stop aging. By looking at a ton of data on other species, scientists decided that even as life expectancy grows, the (upper) limit for humans probably does exist. Womp womp.

What's (finally) getting on board...

The VS Collective.

Bottoms Up

2020 was...something else. We hid inside as much as possible, wiped down our groceries (remember that?), and refused to wear anything but leggings and sweats. 2021 already hits different. But we reserve the right to stay comfy if we want to. Enter: Mugsy. They make stylish men's clothing out of technical fabrics. Help a man in your life (or...yourself) find the ideal balance with their…

Studio Blues. Dark, monochromatic jeans that can be casual. But also dressed up for dinner (gasp) out.

Belmonts. Chinos you can do lunges in? Joey would be proud.

Lagoons. These limited-edition turquoise swim trunks have a stretch liner instead of netting. For all the support without any of the annoying.

Skimm Reads

"Live Your Life" by Amanda Kloots and Anna Kloots

In this meditative memoir, Kloots writes about love and loss after the death of her husband, Broadway actor Nick Cordero, to COVID-19 complications last year. She co-wrote the book with her sister, and it chronicles her relationship with her husband, how she's navigating grief, and more. It's extremely emotional and honest, and will make you want to hug your loved ones.


Here are today's recs to help you live a smarter life…

1. A gift for dads who love historical fiction. Mark Sullivan's latest book, "The Last Green Valley," follows a family's quest to escape two warring forces and travel west at the end of World War II. It's a can't-put-it-down-if-you-tried story of love and survival. Read on.*

2. A superfood scoop packed with all the essentials. Like 50+ vitamins, minerals, and whole food-sourced ingredients. This brand created an all-in-one powder to support gut health and your immune system. And you can get a free one-year supply of Vitamin D when you subscribe. Vita-win.*

3. A big surprise from a big-deal makeup brand. This brand is doing something major this weekend. We wish we could give you the deets, but we've been sworn to secrecy. Watch this space.*

4. Unique finds from Black-owned Etsy shops. This list has a zodiac art print, a notepad just for groceries, and an adorable sticker pack. Btw, these shops are run by women entrepreneurs. Check 'em out in celebration of Juneteenth and beyond.

5. 10 comfy and lightweight shoes to start wearing right now. A world without blisters, aching arches, and sweaty feet? We can feel it now (and it's toe-tally awesome).

6. Summer essentials to shop now that the season is officially here. Hello, first day of summer. We see you right around the corner. So we joined forces with Dough to bring you the best items for warm weather and outdoor fun (all from women-owned brands).

PS: Like what you see here? Make sure you're signed up to get more picks like these in your inbox every Thursday. We've got exclusive shopping recs, streaming ideas, life hacks, and more.

*PS: This is a sponsored post.


This Pride Month, we're recognizing LGBTQ+ leaders, businesses, & orgs for doing great things in the world and in the community.

Celebrate Pride…Rachael C (NY). She's the founder of Catchafire, an org that matches professionals who want to donate their time to nonprofits in need of their talent. Join the founder and share your time and skills with LGBTQ+ orgs looking for support. Learn more.

Add to cart...Lauren and Jessie G (CA). They started G. Qulture, a Black and Queer owned design shop. It helps create intentional art that embraces fluidity and the non-binary beauty in the world. Shop here.

(Some) Birthdays...theSkimm's Anthony Viglietti (NY), Nina Mariano (IL), Steve Fiverson (FL), Meredith Brown (IN), Maxine Todd (NC), Rebecca Henderson (GA), Rachael Gibson (OR), Kirstyn Hughes (GA), Jessica Cannon (NY), Emma McLoughlin (NY), Ashli Holland (PA), Lindsay Martinez (MI), Nako Ishii (NY), Hannah Cavallin (CAN), Helen Yates (VA)

*Paging all members of theSkimm. Nominate yourself or someone you know here.

Skimm More

The Supremes are getting ready to head OOO for the summer. We spoke to legal analyst Caroline Polisi on this week's ep of "Skimm This" about the decisions we're expecting to hear from the court. Plus, which ones to watch.

And if you're looking for other smart ways to spend your time…

  • Listen to our news podcast "Skimm This" for clarity on the biggest stories of the week.

  • Tune in to our career podcast "Skimm'd from the Couch" for tips to build your resume.

  • Subscribe to our "Skimm Money" newsletter to keep up to date with your wallet.

  • Sign up for our "Skimm Your Life" newsletter for curated shopping, reads, and entertainment recs.

  • Follow us on the gram, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.

  • Download our app to get it all in one place.

Skimm’d by Rashaan Ayesh, Maria del Carmen Corpus, Mariza Smajlaj, Clem Robineau, and Julie Shain