Those who know me personally, know I’ve had a strange relationship with Independence Day over the past few years. I always want to see fireworks and hang with family and friends, but as I’ve taught history for the past 15 years, I’ve grown disillusioned with the United States abiding by the words of the Constitution, the National Anthem, and the Pledge of Allegiance. The US gained its independence in 1776, but I struggled with celebrating that when I took into account that MY ancestors weren’t free for much longer than that, and that we still struggle today for the freedoms we’re ALL supposed to be granted in the Constitution.
Enter Juneteenth!! Though I’ve been aware of the holiday and it’s significance for quite awhile, this is the first year I felt compelled to celebrate it. With everything that has been happening in America these last few months, I think we ALL needed something to celebrate. I am thankful that so many people are researching Juneteenth, celebrating Black independence, and making themselves aware of this monumental date. What I also hope is that it’s not a one time celebration; that all these companies and organizations proclaiming that “Black Lives Matter” aren’t just here for a moment, but for the actual movement. It will take more than a social media blackout and a few commercials to make the systemic changes that need to be made in so many areas of life. I appreciate that folks are trying; I’ll appreciate it even more when I see long term changes.
Here’s hoping that Juneteenth 2020 is just the beginning of an awakening around this country. HAPPY JUNETEENTH to all!!