A new federal holiday was signed into law this week, a holiday that calls us to remember our history. Ironically, it comes at the same time that some states are declaring it illegal to teach that history.
Look, I am as white as they come, and I’m talking to my fellow white people when I say that we MUST do better. Consider the significance of the fact that June 19th 1865 was two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, and two months after Lee surrendered to end the Civil War.
Consider the fact that we, as a people, kidnapped, enslaved, tortured, raped and killed black people for no reason other than the fact that they were black. Consider the audacity of that. Consider that we had to send troops into Texas to enforce the ending of slavery.
Sure, it was a long time ago and none of us was there, but that does not mean that we aren’t culpable for the sins of our forebears, particularly not when so much of the attitude that got us into slavery in the first place is still evident in so many of us today.
Racism is baked deep into our soil, into our bodies. It built the education system, the government. It permeates every aspect of our society and it does not go away by denying it exists. It can only be fought by identifying it, calling it out and trampling it beneath our feet.
To my BIPOC friends and family, I’m here to support you in whatever way I can. I know that the naming of Juneteenth as a federal holiday does nothing in the grander scheme of things and there is so very much work to do. It is a pebble in the stream.
Let’s throw a couple boulders in next.
Happy Saturday, Readers. May the day be educational for you.