The Language of Content

Articles from the Speak Agent team that provide classroom resources, implementation strategies, research-based perspectives, and updates regarding our Content+LanguageSM platform.

June Holidays: Celebrating Freedom, Equity, and Empathy

June 19, 2023 | Julie Grimley |

June brings a sense of celebration and commemoration: the end of the school year, the summer solstice, and three important holidays: Pride Month, Juneteenth, and World Refugee Day. These holidays honor the struggles, experiences, and triumphs of diverse communities, and the work left to do to create an equitable and inclusive space for all. 

Though the school year has ended, there’s still more to learn. This post offers the history and significance of these dates, resources, and special Speak Agent lessons you can share with your students during June and throughout the year. 

Pride Month, Juneteenth, and World Refugee Day may seem unrelated; however, they share a common theme of overcoming adversity and an ongoing fight toward freedom and equality. These holidays invite us to contemplate the importance of recognizing and respecting all human beings' inherent rights and dignity, regardless of their race, orientation, ethnicity, religion, or background.

Pride Month Image of diverse people celebrating Pride

Pride Month is an annual celebration in June to show support and unity with the  LGBTQIA+ community following the Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan in 1969, a significant turning point in the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights. We mark this month with parades and other events to promote visibility, education, and activism for equality and acceptance. 

In honor of Pride Month, Speak Agent will release a special Hall of Fame lesson celebrating the evolutionary biologist Jessica Ware! Be sure to subscribe to be notified when new content is released. 

Other Classroom Resources: 

  • NEA Pride Teacher Toolkit: Resources to support LGBTQIA+ students, including creating more inclusive classrooms that incorporate LGBTQIA+ history in their curriculum. 
  • A list of free resources, including best practices, LGBTQIA+ history, suggested supplies, and reading recommendations!
  • Live Out Loud: A list of community, mental health and well-being, and other learning resources for LGBTQIA+ students.
  • TeachWire: A series of Pride resource packs and lesson plans, and other ideas for celebrating and learning about Pride and the LGBTQIA+ Community.

A fist raised in support of Juneteenth

Juneteenth: History and Significance

Juneteenth honors Black liberation and freedom from slavery, which occurred almost two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Since June 19, 1865, the day would be recognized as Juneteenth, becoming a symbol of hope and resilience for the Black community. Learn more in our blog post: Reflections on Juneteenth: A Call to Learn.

In honor of Juneteenth, we invite our partners to learn more about Benjamin Banneker and his contributions in Speak Agent’s Hall of Fame lesson! (lessons available for both K-5 and 6-12).

Banneker was not only a notable figure in the fight for freedom and equality but also an innovator in several STEM fields. Banneker was a free African-American who was an accomplished astronomer, naturalist, mathematician, and author. He played a crucial role in surveying and designing the layout of Washington, D.C. He was also a significant advocate for civil rights. Banneker's legacy is a testament to the resilience and determination of people of color, who have long fought against systemic oppression and inequality. 

A Speak Agent activity

Other Learning Resources: 

  • We Are Teachers: A list of 20 Activities To Celebrate Juneteenth.
  • PBS: A free lesson plan on the history of Juneteenth.
  • Tech&Learning: A curated list of lessons and activities.

World Refugee Day A group of diverse people and a globe

World Refugee Day honors the millions of people forced to flee their homes. According to the United Nations, at the end of 2022, 108.4 million people were displaced to escape conflict, persecution, or violence. World Refugee Day aims to raise awareness and support for these vulnerable populations and to promote empathy and understanding.

Be on the lookout for a future Speak Agent lesson on World Refugee Day! 

Learning Resources: 

These holidays are potent reminders of the importance of equality and empathy for all people. Recognizing and celebrating the resilience, resistance, and hope behind these holidays can help us create more inclusive and compassionate classrooms and society for all. Let us honor those who fought for their liberation and those in need of refuge today. Together, let us create an inclusive and equitable future for all learners! 

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Julie Grimley

Written by Julie Grimley

Julie curates Speak Agent's linguistic content and media resources. She previously served as an English and GED teacher at Des Moines Area Community College, PreK teacher at the JCCGW, writer for the Des Moines Register and the New York Times Education section. She also wrote for clients such as the National Institutes of Health Office of Education. Julie holds a BA in Global Studies and an MA in Journalism & Mass Communication from the University of Iowa.