The Importance of Juneteenth
Slavery might be abolished in the United States, but its mark remains.
This post was made in collaboration with Caitlin Montalbano.
Juneteenth goes by many names but all are in remembrance of June 19, 1865 - the day that the last remaining slaves in the Confederacy were freed. This momentous occasion took place in Galveston, Texas and the order was read out by Union General Gordon Granger. Finally the slaves were free.
Freedom is, of course, liberating. But this does not mean that the lives of African Americans were suddenly easy. Not only did they face financial challenges with their newfound independence, but there were decades of racism engraved into the history of the United States. And that bitter discrimination does not go away with one act, one law, one speech.
It takes dedication and determination to change the mindsets of people who once thought that Black was wrong, that Black was bad. It takes educating a new generation about equality, about how the color of your skin does not determine the warmth of your heart. And ultimately it takes believing that a better future is possible and not giving up hope while we demand change.
I was not born into oppression based on my skin color. I was not placed at the bottom of society's ladder and told to climb to equality before I could stand. There is not an unfair weight on my shoulders. I have never been called slurs on the street. And I know that I will never, truly never, understand the Black experience. But, my whole heart, cries for those who do.
Racism is not innate. It is a taught experience. It is not natural to judge someone for their differences. It is a construct created by society to claim power and one that can go away. If we work together to support the Black community, we will eventually live in a world where people are judged for character not color. All lives can not matter until Black lives do.
You can help be part of the movement. You too can demand change. Below is a list of resources to help educate and contribute to equality.
- When They See Us
- Dear White People
- The New Jim Crow
- The Hate You Give
- They Can't Kill Us All
- White Fragility
How You Can Help:
- National Bail Fund
- Black Lives Matter
- George Floyd Memorial Fund
Petitions: (on change.org)
- Justice For George Floyd
-Stand With Breonna Taylor
Be sure to check out this comprehensive document as well...
Take a stand and join the movement.