Juneteenth

Posted by LaShanta Lewis on

On June 15, 2021 The US Senate unamously passed a resolution acknowledging Juneteenth as a federal holiday. Yes over 100 years later June 19th is recognized as a holiday. It has always been celebrated in the black community, unfortunately not every community were aware of what Juneteenth was years ago. Now if you are unaware which is ok, I do not mind giving you the tea. Juneteenth is the month slavery was abolished. Not every state freed the slaves all at once. In 1780 Virginia was the first state to free slaves, on December 18, 1865 Federal troops marched in Texas to state slavery was abolished and to free all slaves, however, somehow Mississippi received the memo late or just ignored it and was the last state to abolish slavery a few years later. Juneteenth is not celebrated or recognized by Hawaii, North and South Dakota. Hawaii is well whatever but who lives in North and South Dakota? Now we all know the 13th admendment even though "slavery" is abolished, there is a fine print that slavery is only necessary for punishment of crimes. Hence the large number of prisons and mass incarcerations. Of course what ethnicity has the largest number of incarcerated inmates? You guessed it African Americans. 

So some history on Juneteenth celebration; In 1951 Dr. Wesley Johnson a Texas migrant introduced Juneteenth to San Francisco California. The Juneteenth Parade and Festival has been celebrated in the Bay Area every year for the past 8 decades. Activist Ben Haith founder of National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation (NJCF) created the Juneteenth flag in 1997 with the help of Boston collaborators and illustrator Lisa Jeanne Graf. Juneteenth also known as Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, Jubilee day has surely been making its way to the black community as a celebration. This gives an opportunity for us to celebrate more than just black history month.

Now that Juneteenth is a federal holiday, of course the black community will continue the festivities, but I am curious to know what other ethnicities are going to celebrate if any? NO this does not mean everybody is allowed to the cook outs. Yes I said it no and we actually need to stop trying to allow people at the cook outs just because they dance to music, or can do certain things. Now I am probably going to ruffle some feathers but can we just take a pause on wanting to allow others into our spaces when they are not on the front lines with us. They aren't fighting in our wars but we give them passes to celebrate with us ummm yea no. Sorry not sorry we have to work on our own community because whoever decided to add shrimp to potato salad needs a talking too. That is another topic we can discuss later but I want y'all to sit with that for a second. 

Juneteenth is the most important day as it represents the day our ancestors hard fighting was acknowledged and gave an opportunity for the freedom fighters to continue to knock down barriers. Today yes we have come a long way but there is always work to be done. Now we need our reparations because our ancestors never got their 40 acres and a mule. Hopefully this is a continued fight to justice for our ancestors and those who fought for us to be here to reap the benefits of the opportunities we do have. Continue to fight the power!!!!!

 


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