2022 marks the second year that the United States recognizes Juneteenth as a national holiday. It did my heart good seeing all of the festivals, concerts, and community events take place in my city as thousands of Black Charlotteans celebrated one of the most significant days in the history of our people. However, it should be noted that we must take caution as this holiday moves further into the public spotlight. This isn’t like Valentine’s Day where the whole intent is on celebrating something good. Instead, this day should be celebrated as well as solemnized.
The chapter of slavery in America is about as dark as you can imagine. The slavers’ senseless stripping of both identity and dignity from a human being of darker skin and equal value is an act justified by no shred of universal goodness. Me and mine are products of the enduring spirit and unyielding faith of slaves who were taken from their own lands and brought here to build this country on their own backs, receiving no due credit. I’m not sure if it was a haunt of guilt or good politics for Abraham Lincoln to declare the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Whatever it was, the slaves in Galveston, Texas were the last to know about it two years later. Hence, we celebrate this day.
However, we solemnize this day because it reminds us of the millions of Black Africans who were brutally raped, emasculated, orphaned, and murdered because of the perverted sense of humanity exhibited by certain people who thought they were doing the will of God. There’s no recompense for those that intentionally seek to degrade and/or destroy life for their own individual gains. The saddest part for me is that even now, in 2022, there are still sub-humans that walk among us that carry that same complex. And if they had their way, they’d take us right back down that same dark path of social hatred and institutional enslavement.
Despite this, I am wholly optimistic that one day, hate will be eradicated and love will triumph. It may not erase centuries of slavery that scarred the multicolored skin of America, but it will bring a promise. A promise that if we spend less time finding differences and more time identifying and embracing what brings us together, this world and the generations that will inherit it will finally know peace. ✊🏾