An important day like today, especially after the recent racially inclined murders (public lynching) of black Americans, the most recent of which triggered violence through out the nation and globally, that of George Floyd, June 19, 2020 ought to be celebrated as a national holiday all across the United States of America. Juneteenth also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day orignated in Texas in commemoration of army general Gordon Granger for announcing federal orders in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, proclaiming that all people held as slaves in Texas were free.
Black Americans and advocates for Black Lives Matter are taking to the streets to celebrate this day despite its unofficial recognition honoring the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. Others, still in the state of mourning have chosen alternate celebration outlets in commemoration of Juneteenth!
Read this interesting article I found in the Washington Post.
This Juneteenth, I don’t feel like celebrating. Instead, I’m cooking barbecue in memory of Black lives lost.
Juneteenth (some call it Freedom Day) has always been a complicated holiday for me, mainly for two reasons: One, it’s the day Black people commemorate the emancipation from the ugly, nefarious practice of enslavement in the United States, on June 19, 1865 — a system my great-great-great-great-great-grandparents never asked to be part of in the first place. Two, it always felt borderline patronizing to me, a Black man living in the United States, to spend my day drinking red soda and thanking white America for setting my people free.
It gets even more complicated because Juneteenth acknowledges the notion that while Black enslaved people in the Confederate states were granted freedom by the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, some 250,000 remained enslaved in Texas 2½ years later. Yet, I am found celebrating each year: proud to be Black and Black being proud. I am found smiling and dancing the Electric Slide with pieces of grilled corn creviced between my teeth. I am surrounded by Black family, joy and cheer. I hold these tensions, and they will never go away.
With the recent killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Dion Johnson, Nina Pop, Riah Milton, Dominique Fells, Monika Diamond, George Floyd and countless more, anti-racism protests have risen globally. The voices of Black people are being heard in a way that they have never quite been heard before. And Black people, we’re tired. (By the way, I consider lowercase “black” to be a color, not a race, so I use uppercase to refer to people from the African diaspora.)
Juneteenth serves both as a celebration of the excavation from enslavement and a remembrance of my oppression. The holiday has always been centered on memories of the past and those who occupied it. It’s that place in the middle where I find my Blackness, hung in the pendulum somewhere between great pride and great anguish.
Source: The Washington Post