Juneteenth is an annual celebration of freedom for the last of the enslaved African American people. This day is celebrated by promoting education of black history and accomplishments. In educating ourselves on black history, we recognize the systemic racism that has infiltrated American society from its very beginning. Learning about our past and remembering days like Juneteenth can be used as a tool to improve ourselves and the world around us.
The first Juneteenth took place on June 19th, 1865, two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation Order took effect. On this day, General Gordon Granger went to Texas and declared that the slaves were free. Despite this, some slave owners kept this information from their slaves until after harvest season and killed those who acted on hearing the news. A lesson to learn from this piece of history is that everyone must do their part in making true changes in our society. This includes understanding others and their motivations for wanting change.
We cannot understand why racial disparities exist today if we are not informed of our past. How could anyone understand the outrage behind the murders of George Floyd and Amaud Arbery without understanding the outrage behind the death of Emmett Till? Why would protesters march for racial equality and police reform today if they did not know about the success of the marches during the Civil Rights Movement? Without education of our past, we will never know how to be on the right side of history. This Juneteenth let us remember to look at our world today through an educated lens and stand up for what we know is right.