On June 19, 1865, those of us who were still shackled, finally became free. Juneteenth allowed 250,000 people–a quarter million people who just happened to have melanated (brown) skin–250,000 African American fathers, mothers and children–to relinquish being owned by another human. The date commemorates African American freedom.
As we come upon Juneteenth 2020, it’s critical that all people are more conscious, more educated and more compassionate about the unimaginable circumstances that surrounded and resulted in slavery.
Juneteenth will also be a time to celebrate my freedom, reason with my continual struggle for equality, work to foster relationships with people who do not look like me, enlighten those who have not experienced my pain while forgiving those who can’t be held responsible for the callous actions of their ancestors.
Of course, there’s still work to do. Juneteenth is not yet considered a federal holiday. It is formally recognized as a state holiday by 47 of 50 U.S. states.
Know your history. Live in the present. Work to shape the future.