UA alum creates community through virtual Juneteenth celebration


Courtesy of Teryn Shipman

Jeffrey Kelly | @jeffkellyjr, Assistant Culture Editor

As June 19th approached, many prepared to celebrate Juneteenth in various ways. For Teryn Shipman, UA alumna and founder of the company and blog “For Black Girls Who Have A Lot to Say,” her plans included Zoom, a plethora of Black artists and a mission to build a community. 

 In years prior, Shipman spent Juneteenth – a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States – wearing themed T-shirts with friends and family celebrating their Blackness at house parties or with organizations. This year, due to COVID-19, Shipman decided to celebrate by creating a virtual event to not only spread awareness about pressing issues and commemorate Juneteenth but also to nurture a community of her peers. 

Shipman hosted the free event featuring different calls to action, fundraisers and special guests’ performances of spoken-word poetry and a live workout. 

Marissa Navarro, a UA alumna, said her favorite part of the event was the spoken-word poetry. 

“It was so thoughtful and thought-provoking,” she said. “It just made you really appreciate all the work that has been done by our elders and our ancestors and the people that came before us because they led the way for where we’re at now, and if it wasn’t for their important roles then we would be even worse than we’re at now.” 

Shipman said she wanted this event to be a space to celebrate Black joy and allow people to be unapologetic about it. She said she wanted to give everyone joy and peace and allow them to honor their ancestors while also thinking about what it would mean to build a Black future. 

“Not only is it important to celebrate Juneteenth, but we have to build power amongst ourselves past this holiday and past this moment,” she said. “So I think this is the beginning of many new things.”

Shipman said she learned about Juneteenth while in college. It showed her the beginning of a new life for Black people in the United States while also showcasing how much work still needs to be done. 

“We’re still dealing with a lot of the same systems that came from that period,” she said. “We’re talking about specifically, when we’re looking at mass incarceration, when we’re looking at what it really means to defund the police.”

Navarro said she was thankful for the Black Lives Matter movement becoming mainstream because it has brought awareness to injustice and of the importance of Juneteenth.

“If it wasn’t for that movement, and just like Twitter, and amplifying it, I really think [Juneteenth] would just be brushed off like a lot of other history is, and so I’m very thankful for the movement because again we wouldn’t be where we are now,” Navarro said. “We’re able to push the needle on more progressive ideals, and I think they have had a huge impact on spreading awareness.” 

Shipman said it was awesome to see so many people recognizing Juneteenth and the Black Lives Matter Movement, which people have spent years working on. She also said it is not only empowering but vital that we recognize the people on the ground doing the work in the Black Lives Matter movement, not just nationally, but also locally.

To learn more about Shipman’s company and blog visit