These Virtual Workouts Are Celebrating Juneteenth and Benefiting Black Communities
From donation-based yoga classes to fundraising virtual 5Ks, here's how to make the most of the holiday.
In history class, you may have been taught that slavery ended when President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862. But it wasn't until two years later, after the end of the Civil War, that the Emancipation Proclamation was actually enforced in every state. On June 19, 1865, enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas—the last area in the U.S. where Black people were still enslaved—were (finally) told they were free. For the last 155 years, this pivotal moment in history—known as Juneteenth, Jubilee Day, and Freedom Day—has been celebrated around the world with festivals, parties, church ceremonies, educational services, and much more.
This year, Juneteenth is getting more recognition than ever because of the civil unrest following the horrific killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many, many others. (Related: Powerful Moments of Peace, Unity, and Hope from Black Lives Matter Protests)
While more people are learning about and celebrating Juneteenth, coronavirus (COVID-19) has, unfortunately, put a major damper on most traditional festivities this year. There are some in-person events planned, including marches and small outdoor celebrations. But there are also virtual Juneteenth celebrations underway—including online workouts with some of your favorite studios and trainers.
The best part: Each workout is coupled with a donation-based initiative to help you support Black communities in a variety of ways. Here, the best virtual Juneteenth workouts to check out this weekend.
STRENGTH | FULL BODY By EverybodyFights
The class is part of the gym's #FightForChange initiative, in which EBF trainers are picking organizations they want to support in each class. For the Juneteenth class, taught by Kelli Fierras, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., EBF Live Members can participate for free, and donations are encouraged; proceeds will support the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Non-members can join for a $10 ticket donation and will be able to sign up for a 7-day trial of the home fitness platform. More options to donate will be available throughout the class. (Related: This Total-Body Conditioning Workout From Everbody Fights Proves Boxing Is the Best Cardio)
Strength Against Racism Virtual Workout By Fhitting Room
HIIT fitness brand Fhitting Room is hosting a Strength Against Racism virtual benefit workout on Juneteenth to raise funds for the Harlem Academy, an independent, nonprofit day school that helps provide equal opportunities to promising students; the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, a civil rights organization helping to fight legal battles for racial justice; and the Black Lives Matter Foundation.
The 60-minute HIIT and strength class begins at 8 a.m. ET and will be available through Fhitting Room LIVE, the studio's virtual fitness platform (you can also stream the class via Instagram and Facebook Live). The class is completely donation-based, and 100 percent of proceeds will go toward the three aforementioned organizations. The Fhitting Room also plans to match all donations up to $25k.
Across the globe, annual Juneteenth events are going virtual in light of COVID-19. While it's definitely a bummer to not be able to celebrate with big festivals and parties, this virtual shift means anyone can participate in events that would normally be local, including races and walks.
First up: the Rochester Juneteenth 5K Run/Walk. It costs $10 to register, and proceeds will go toward building Rochester's Civil Rights Heritage site at Baden Park. The race can be run any day and at any time leading up to or on June 19.
In North Carolina, Gardner-Webb University (GWU) is hosting a Race to End Racism 5K to raise funds for GWU's Black Student Association. The race is free to join, but donations are encouraged. Once you've registered, you can walk or run the 5K wherever and whenever you choose, on or before June 19.
Castle Hill Fitness Juneteenth Yoga Class
Castle Hill Fitness, a workout studio in Austin, Texas, will be live-streaming five yoga classes throughout the day on June 19.
The classes are free, but donations are welcomed. In honor of the holiday, all proceeds will benefit Six Square, a local nonprofit that works toward preserving and celebrating African American history. (Related: Why You Should Add a Yoga Workout to Your Fitness Routine)
Dancers Unite for Black Lives Matter
New York-based dance studio, Bachata Rosa is celebrating Juneteenth by collaborating with different dance instructors—including Serena Spears (who specializes in isolation and body mechanics), Emma Housner (Latin fusion dance), and Ana Sofia Dallal (body movement and musicality), among others—and offering a series of virtual classes between June 19 and June 21.
The studio is asking for a minimum $10 donation, "however, any amount beyond is welcome," according to the event's Facebook page. All proceeds will go toward supporting the New York chapter of the Black Lives Matter Foundation. To secure your spot in a class, send a screenshot of your donation to Dore Kalmar (the dance instructor organizing the event), who will then send you a link to register for the online class(es).
Yoga with Jessamyn Stanley
Body-positive activist and yogi, Jessamyn Stanley is celebrating Juneteenth with a free live yoga class on Saturday, June 20 at 3 p.m. ET. (Did you know Jessamyn Stanley quit yoga years before becoming the namaste boss babe she is today?)
The class, which you'll be able to stream on Stanley's Instagram Live, will be donation-based to benefit several Black liberation organizations, including Critical Resistance, a national grassroots organization working to dismantle the prison industrial complex; Black Youth Project (BYP) 100, a national organization of Black youth activists creating justice and freedom for all Black people; BlackOUT Collective, an organization that provides direct, on-the-ground support for Black liberation efforts; UndocuBlack Network (UBN), a multigenerational network of currently and formerly undocumented Black people that fosters community and increases access to resources for these Black communities; and Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity (BOLD), a nonprofit that encourages social transformation and improves living conditions for Black people by equipping Black organizers and leaders with the tools they need to build and sustain allied social movements.