Social Justice

With observances like Juneteenth, Pride Month, and World Refugee Day falling in June, social justice is on our minds. Social justice means that all people deserve the same fundamental rights and opportunities regardless of their race, religion, sexuality, socioeconomic status, or any other characteristic. 

Throughout history, different groups have had to fight for their right to live full lives, from people with disabilities advocating for accessible infrastructure and transportation, to women fighting for equal pay. Sometimes it can be difficult to understand the injustices people face in our community, our country, and the world, but we can counter this by educating ourselves and having conversations with people with different lived experiences than our own. 

The ideas of social justice and community are tied because social injustices may only occur or be visible in some spaces, and groups that face social injustices often have tight-knit communities where they are supported and safe.

Open Ended Play

This month we invite families to watch The Community Garden episode of Look, Listen, and Learn and take part in a community mapping activity. Our community may be a place, but it is also a feeling. Communities are networks for friendship, love, and support. We may be part of many different communities throughout our lives, and by taking a deeper look at your community, you can begin to understand the way people show up differently in spaces.

For the activity, you’ll need glue, markers, scissors, paper, recycled materials, and favorite pictures of family, friends, and places. 

  1. Think about what makes up your community
  2. Draw an outline of your “community map”
  3. Glue your favorite pictures to your map
  4. Go through the recycled materials and cut words or images that make you think of the people or places in your community
  5. Glue these materials to your map. You can organize it by place, by people, or put words next to pictures that remind you of what’s in that picture

Questions to ask your child:

  1. Do you know what a community is?
  2. Who is in your community?
  3. What places are in your community?
  4. Why is community important to you?

In The Community

Pride Month

Every June we are invited to celebrate and support the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIIA+) community. This month commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Uprising that contributed to the civil rights movement for LGBTQIIA+ rights, and is a time to recognize the importance of safe, inclusive spaces for members of this community. 

Officially, Pride Month is recognized in June, but communities around the world hold festivals from May until August. Most pride celebrations in Tacoma take place in July, so be sure to check out what PFLAG Tacoma, the Rainbow Center, and other organizations are doing to celebrate. One of the best family friendly events you can attend is the Tacoma Pride Festival set for July 8, 2023. 

Pride Month isn’t just for LGBTQIIA+ folks! Being an ally means you support, accept, advocate for, and care for the well-being of LGBTQIIA+ people. You stand up for LGBTQIIA+ rights and help others understand the importance of equality, fairness, and respect. 


Juneteenth commemorates the day slavery ended in the United States; more than 2 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Although Juneteenth wasn’t declared a federal holiday until 2021, it is one of the oldest celebrations of freedom from slavery and has long been commemorated across the south. 

Here are a few local opportunities for family friendly celebration and commemoration:

Learn about Juneteenth through a Juneteenth Scavenger Hunt at Tacoma Public Library June 1 – 16, and create jewelry during a Juneteenth Shrinky Dinks activity at South Tacoma Branch on June 16.

Join Puyallup at its third annual Juneteenth celebration at Grayland Park on June 10.

Head to the Washington State History Museum on June 15 to hear local youth writers read original reflections on the significance of Juneteenth and participate in letterpress printing.

Celebrate at the Juneteenth Celebration festival at Stewart Heights Park on June 19. The festival will include a main stage featuring performances and speakers, an interactive kid’s zone, face painting, and a playground.

Join Tacoma Urban League at LeMay America’s Car Museum Haub Family Field on June 30 to support Black and BIPOC business owners and performing artists. The event will feature 150+ vendors, food trucks, beer garden, live DJ, performing artists, resources, and family activities.

Juneteenth is also a great opportunity to support black-owned businesses and introduce children to topics like slavery and racism through picture books or online resources. You can also get involved with local organizations championing anti-racism work like Tacoma Urban League and YWCA Pierce County.

Father’s Day

Father’s Day is a holiday honoring fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers on society. This Father’s Day, June 19, create something heartfelt for the father figure or paternal caregiver in your life with one of these easy activities!

World Refugee Day

June 20th is dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world. There are over 30 million refugees in the world, and over the course of 2023, the United States will welcome 125,000 refugees into our country. 

Refugee: a person who has been forced to leave their county in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. 

Several local programs support refugee populations in our community, including Pierce County’s Commission on Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s Refugee Health Program, which screens and helps refugees who move to the area, and Tacoma Community House, which provides immigration assistance and education.

One local program for refugees to build community is the Tacoma Refugee Choir. While singing is a key part of the program, its primary objective is to create a space where meaningful relationships can develop, and members can uplift one another. Check it out for resources and events.

Great Outdoors Month

June is Great Outdoors Month, and with good reason! National Trails Day (June 3), National Get Outdoors Day (June 10), National Camping Week (June 18 – 24), and the Summer Solstice (June 21) are all great opportunities for active family fun this month. 

From June 3 – 18, Tacomans are invited to connect, explore, and discover local Tacoma parks and trails with the Tacoma Trails Challenge!

Your family can also enjoy free entry to Washington State Parks June 10, 11, and 19. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources designates a handful of days each year when a Discover Pass is not required to visit Washington State Parks.

If you’re looking for an affordable way to rent gear, you may be able to get what you need from Campfire Coffee’s Campfire Explorers Club! They offer rentals of items in their small gear library, like tents, sleeping bags, and insect repellent, for those looking for an affordable way to get outdoors.  

Even More Events and Celebrations!

Caregiver Corner

Examine your assumptions to gain awareness of your unconscious biases and become a better advocate for social justice. Here are a few common biases that might shape behavior:

  • Affinity bias: The tendency to favor people who share similar interests, backgrounds, and experiences with us.
  • Attribution bias: The tendency to explain a person’s behavior by referring to their character rather than any situational factor. This bias is often at odds with how we excuse our own behavior.
  • Confirmation bias: The tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.