Sunday Family Dinner – The Purpose of Juneteenth Today

So, I am a little late with the Sunday Family Dinner blog due to celebrating Father’s Day on yesterday and engaging in a little self-care and feeding my spirit. But the same premise applies for the post today, using dinner time to engage in conversation with our families.

As we observe Juneteenth today, I find myself asking what is the purpose of Juneteenth today in post-Trump America. Now, I know that Juneteenth is the day, June 19, 1865 that enslaved people in Galveston Bay, Texas were finally freed in spite of freedom actually being granted in 1863. But, today I find myself asking what is the purpose of Juneteenth when black people in America today are still treated with the same hatred, racism, inequality, and dehumanizing practices as the enslaved people of the 1600, 1700, and 1800’s? What is the purpose of Juneteenth when communities of color are still plagued by unequal access to resources that is keeping generations of black people in poverty? What is the purpose of Juneteenth being a federal holiday when the United States government has not provided reparations to the descendants of the enslaved people? What is the purpose of Juneteenth when elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels refuse to have the truth taught in history classes in our schools by promoting mis-information about critical race theory because they believe white children should not be made to feel bad but black children continue to experience racism by many who want to make them feel inferior because of the color of their skin? Now, let me say that I am neither for nor against critical race theory being taught in school. This is partly because critical race theory is not a curriculum that can be taught in school and partly because if I was a parent of school-aged children, I would not want to leave it up to my child’s school or teacher to teach them about racism or how to not be racist; but I do believe that the truth about history in this country should be taught without making any children feel bad or inferior about who they are.

Again, I ask, what is the purpose of Juneteenth when many in this country still do not recognize that every person in this country has value and purpose, and deserves to be treated as a human being regardless of their race, color of their skin, socioeconomic status, language spoken, or educational level, or any other factor that is used to divide people in this country? With all that, I still believe that Juneteenth should be observed and celebrated by all in this country and that the truth about slavery, racism, and black people in this country should be taught. I believe that Juneteenth should be observed and celebrated to continue the fight and advocacy for racial equality and true freedom in this country.

Proud to be a Black Woman, Dr. Daphne

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