Considering the current climate when it comes to racial tensions in the nation mixed with the proud stance of being African American, it’s important now more than ever to recognize, salute, and celebrate Juneteenth. The special day, celebrated on June 19, is also known as Juneteenth Independence Day, or Freedom Day and marks the day slavery officially ended in the United States in 1865.
Cultural Pride and Historical Reverence = Juneteenth
With the current racially-charged social climate including incidents involving former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick still without a job because he refuses to ignore it all and Blacks getting arrested for chillin’ at Starbucks, it’s vital that we continue to stand up for our freedom. First for ourselves, so we can take pride in our own culture and history, but also so others can see that we are very aware of our strength, confidence, and know who we really are.
And that’s something that can never be taken away from us.
Slavery is a heinous practice that ended in 1865, but thanks to the current state of our nation and the dangerous rhetoric of people who think like Kanye West, the significance of slavery and its abolition is forgotten. It’s easy to remiss and take for granted this history when you think about how far we’ve come since 1865. Today, it’s not out of the ordinary to see a Black lawyer, doctor, educator, business owner, and inventor. However, when we think about how far we still have to go, it just serves as another reason why the importance of Juneteenth will never go away.
Celebrating Blackness In Real Life
With #BlackGirlMagic, #BlackLove, and all shades of melanin poppin’ on Instagram, the Black community is embracing its culture and self-love in a major way. Juneteenth is another one of those ways to do that. It acknowledges the years our ancestors suffered, but also that day of freedom they never thought they would see. We really can’t celebrate it enough with reflection, gratefulness, and a refreshing will to keep going and shape a better future.
Image: Celebration band, June 19, 1900; photo by Grace Murray Stephenson via The Portal to Texas History