Juneteenth

Black@ Airbnb’s Perspective on Black Liberation

While Juneteenth is an integral celebration of Black liberation, it is but a small piece of a much bigger picture. To mark the occasion this year, we in Black@, Airbnb’s Black employee resource group, wanted to tell a part of the larger story of our global Black community’s push against oppression, the battles we’ve inherited, and our collective triumphs.

Our friend, Carvell Wallace, has put pen to paper to profile a number of Black uprisings across the world and how they served as a catalyst for big societal shifts in consciousness and understanding. We’re thrilled that he has put together this piece and it is our hope that you will come away with new learnings and a commitment to continue to expand your knowledge and to leverage your own power to support Black communities. There’s a place for everyone in the continued battle for equity; consider yourself invited.

Below this article, you’ll find a link to a profile of an Airbnb Host Advisory Board member with insights on belonging, as well as a list of experiences with Hosts all over the world who focus on Black history through the lens of their local community.


Yours in solidarity,
Black@ Airbnb

Uprisings as Catalysts for Black Liberation


About the author

Carvell Wallace is an award-winning podcaster, bestselling author, and contributor to the New York Times Magazine. His book The Sixth Man was named to Barack Obama’s Year End List, and his podcast Finding Fred was ranked best of the year by The Atlantic and nominated for a Peabody Award.

About the author

Carvell Wallace is an award-winning podcaster, bestselling author, and contributor to the New York Times Magazine. His book The Sixth Man was named to Barack Obama’s Year End List, and his podcast Finding Fred was ranked best of the year by The Atlantic and nominated for a Peabody Award.


The desire to belong lives deeply within all of us. We want to be safe, we want to be loved, we want to be cared for. We want to feel that we have a home. This desire is universal enough and timeless enough that as far back as 1789 it was enshrined in The Declaration of The Rights of Man, the 17-article document that arose in the aftermath of the French Revolution. “These rights,” Article 2 states, “are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.” The idea that every human has a right to resist oppression was of course not new in 1789, but the insistence on codifying that right globally, as the French Revolutionaries sought to do, was.

Despite the best intentions of this document, the daily reality of many people around the globe currently is that their right to resist oppression is not, in fact, protected. Those who rise up against unfair treatment are often greeted with state-sponsored violence and bloodshed. It is the nature of power that those who have it often wish to hoard it and those who do not can only take it by force, or as former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass so succinctly put it: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will.”

In recent years, the United States has seen its own citizens taking to the streets against oppression. Polls in summer 2020 estimated that between 15 million and 26 million people took part in protests in the aftermath of the police murder of George Floyd on May 25th of that year, making this one of the largest protests in recent American history (source: Kaiser Family Foundation, Civis Analytics, N.O.R.C., Pew).

Floyd was just the latest in a long line of unarmed Black people who, though convicted of no crime, were shot or strangled to death by police. The vociferous public response to these deaths -- and the cell footage that often accompanies them -- has heralded the coming of a global movement to resist police brutality and fundamentally change the way policing interacts with society.

This movement is pushed along by actions that many people would consider lawless and disorderly or even violent. Fires, looting and destruction of property have become a controversial aspect of the people’s resistance to what they see as their oppression, and indeed, there are many who question these tactics. “I agree with your cause,” they might say, “but I don’t agree with the methods.” It is tempting to view these acts of resistance as impulsive, counter-productive or poorly thought out. But the global history of social change tells us an entirely different story.

A forceful resistance is, and has always been, one of the primary ways by which meaningful social change is achieved. From the Sparta Revolts to the American Revolution, the oppressed have won their freedom time and time again not by asking for it but by directly confronting their oppressors. Simply put, there is no defending belonging without confrontation.

The Black Lives Matter movement is more than just a current political event. It is part of a centuries-long tradition of the oppressed rising up to forcefully demand fair and equal treatment and access to basic human rights. And if there is abuse, injustice, and brutality, there will also be resistance by those who envision a better, safer world, a world in which we can all belong, and who are willing to fight for us to be there. As author, revolutionary, and activist Angela Davis so succinctly put it: Freedom is a constant struggle.

‎Explore important uprisings in Black history

The Haitian Revolution

The South African Uprisings

Ashanti Uprising & Ghana Independence

The Stonewall Uprising

Hear from a Host leader


Host Advisory Board member Sam Reed talks about the importance of Black history in education, and shares insights about belonging, empathy, and entrepreneurship.

Host Advisory Board member Sam Reed talks about the importance of Black history in education, and shares insights about belonging, empathy, and entrepreneurship.


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