Happy Juneteenth

19 Jun

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Editor’s note: I’m going off topic once again because a) it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want and b) this issue deserves to be addressed.

Today is Juneteenth, the celebration of the emancipation of slaves in America. Nearly 4 million people were freed from the bondage and indignity of slavery in America, a process that took nearly two years from the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation to the end of the Civil War.

That war ended almost 150 years ago. It is a stain on this country that can’t come out. It is blood on a cashmere sweater. It is the family secret everyone knows about but no one wants to acknowledge. It is a constant reminder that this nation was built on the backs of human beings who weren’t considered human. We celebrate our independence from British rule with fireworks and barbecue. But the emancipation of slaves often passes by without much acknowledgement. Not any more.

Not when a Confederate flag flies high above a state capital that watched one of its own citizens massacre a bible study group at a black church. Not when a 5-year-old has to play dead to avoid being killed by a hate-filled racist. And not when I have to read stories about a monster who had been a sweet, smart boy as a child and not his hateful actions that led to this point.

I am angry. I’ve had a queasy feeling in my stomach for the past couple of days because I can’t make sense of this. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Sadly, I don’t think it will be the last. Less than a year ago, I wrote about watching my hometown burn because of the anger boiling up inside its residents at the injustice of the justice system there. Within that time, I’ve watched protest after protest, march after march, and black person after black person killed, attacked and humiliated because the aggressor felt my people weren’t worthy.

I come from a long line of people who just want to live. We work hard, we play hard, we love hard. It’s that love that is keeping me whole and giving me hope in this time of anger and sorrow. Today, I’ll go about my day trying to temper that anger and celebrate the day my ancestors were freed. Because something good needs to happen amid all this tragedy.

Once again, I’ll leave this here because, just like last year, it’s in heavy rotation. I hope it eases you as it does me.

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