Juneteenth — What it means to me
By Karringtan Bell, Class of 2020
I have always known that Juneteenth was a holiday on June 19 that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. I remember learning about it briefly in school, and having mini history lessons at home with my grandmother.
With everything going on in the world today — BLM movement, the fight against systemic racism and the continued injustice that black people and other minorities are forced to live with daily — I decided to educate myself even more about the history of this holiday.
June 19,1865 was the day that Texan slaves found out they were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation two and a half years after it happened.
The 200,000 plus Texan slaves were the very last to be informed.
Since then it has been a tradition for African Americans to celebrate freedom every year around this time.
The Juneteenth flag serves as a reminder that slavery was made illegal. This holiday is full of tradition that continues to promote education and self-improvement.
Celebrations of this holiday include rodeos, street fairs, cookouts, family reunions, park parties, historical reenactments, Miss Juneteenth contests, and more.
This year the celebration of Juneteenth may take place in a new way, given the sweeping changes and widespread protests across the U.S.
As a member of the black community I strongly believe we need to continue to unite, work together, educate ourselves and fight for the equal rights we are entitled to so we can continue to teach, raise, educate and empower the kings and queens coming after us.
When I find myself discouraged in these times, I turn to the words of Harriet Tubman. They are a constant reminder that during the hard times, I need to keep fighting.
“If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.”
― Harriet Tubman
Times of hopelessness does not mean it’s time to throw in the towel, it’s the time to lean on each other, dig deep within and continue to fight.
I gain strength from those who came before me, fought the fight and made some progress.
NOW IT’S OUR TURN.
I gain strength from Harriet Tubman.
I gain strength from many others actions and words.
I hope you get a chance to read up on Juneteenth, learn something new and take time to celebrate too.
Here’s my music picks: