2 years, 5 months, and 18 days

“Facing the rising sun of our new day begun…”

Juneteenth, 1909

Imagine learning you had won the mega millions 2 years, 5 months, and 18 days after your winning ticket had been pulled while you and your family lived on the street, out if your car, sometimes scavenging leftover garbage for dinner. Imagine learning your conviction for life in prison had been overturned 2 years, 5 months, and 18 days while you were left in solitary with no contact with the outside world and developed severe mental and emotional issues. Imagine learning you had been free for 2 years, 5 months, and 18 days, while you still endured forced labor, beatings, rape, and maybe even the separation of your families, by the Emancipation Proclamation. The latter is a factual occurrence, and today in a few hours, President Biden will sign that day, Juneteenth, into law as a national holiday. We celebrate President’s who owned slaves, the independence of the country from Great Britain, and now the freedom of humans from bondage and servitude, which was written into our Constitution. It is no small feat, and to diminish it is ignorant and in complete and total disrespect of our ancestors who waited 2 years, 5 months, and 18 days to hear their bodies and minds were, for the first time in their existence, their own. For at least 246 documented years, Black people, those of us with African roots, were considered no more or less valuable than family china and silver flatware. Juneteenth is our day of freedom.It is a holiday.

So instead of saying this is just a crumb, let’s recognize it for what it is. The making of a national holiday is not a small feat, ESPECIALlY when it’s very nature calls into the spotlight the very nature if the racist roots of America. The bill to make Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national holiday was introduced on April 8, 1968 by Rep. John Conyers, and didn’t become law until 1983. Until 2000, many State’s still did not recognize it as a state holiday. It was the first holiday to recognize a person who was not a President, but likely most importantly, a Black person. It took years of dedication by Conyers, President Jimmy Carter, Coretta Scott King, Stevie Wonder, and a host of others to compel Congress to vote on snd pass the bill. This Juneteenth bill was first presented to Congress in 2020 by Democratic Senator Ed Markey. It was reintroduced in February by Rep Sheila Jackson and Senators Markey, Cory Booker, Tina Smith, and John Cornyn. The bill unanimously passed the Senate and 14 White male Republicans voted No in the House, where it passed by majority.

Of those 14, comments ran the gamut from the holiday being confusing, costing too much money to give federal workers another day off, separating people by race, and other assinine commentary. But my favorite came from Matt Rosendale, who stated: “This is an effort by the Left to create a day out of whole cloth to celebrate identity politics as part of its larger efforts to make Critical Race Theory the reigning ideology of our country. Since I believe in treating everyone equally, regardless of race, and that we should be focused on what unites us rather than our differences, I will vote no.”

What in the BIGGEST PIECE OF MALARKEY BULLSHIT is that Matt?!?

Critical Race Theory is a whole other conversation for another day, but let’s be very clear, capitalism, the reigning monetary ideology in America is built upon haves and have not. Justice, the fair and equitable process of law is given or not based on one’s race, color, nationality. What better way to convince society and people that they are superior and others inferior if you thwart opportunity, ability to earn, ability to own by human race distinctions, and actually allow other people to own people as assets. White supremacy and racism are the ideologies upon which America is built, and Critical Race Theory (CRT) is just a way to explain and support these facts with empirical data and real experiences. If that is uncomfortable for people, well one sure fire way to stop that is to stop using race as a factor in social and legal justice. Period. Juneteenth, by its nature, is necessary because our only internal war was fought based upon slavery, race, racism, white supremacy. These fools screaming about CRT don’t even know what it is, and are just scared their closet racism will get knocked out of the closet, and there is no pretty rainbow or pride in that secret.

Juneteenth is a part of US history. For many Black people, many of us, it’s a small crumb on a big plate of racial injustice. We want the whole Red Velvet. An anti-lynching law passed, the Voting Rights Act passed, a policing justice act passed, anti-housing discrimination law passed and equal pay act passed. But let’s not just gloss over how important it is to see our history celebrated and recognized. Let us not act like this isn’t important. We still have VERY much to fight for. We still need to see the memories of Emmett Till, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, James Boyd, and all of our fallen heroes honored with legislation and policy. We still need to see our HBCUs funded, entrepreneurial ideas credited with the capital we’ve been historically denied, and our voting processes equitable and votes as powerful as our neighbors. But this Saturday, I’ll feed my Black family some Faygo Red Pop, grilled meat, red potato salad, watermelon, and strawberry creme pie in recognition of the blood our ancestors shed on this land in servitude. Blood my ancestors shed on this land in servitude. Happy Juneteenth ya’ll!

Great Great Grandmother, Kitty Hayes, born into slavery

“Let us march on ’til victory is won.