We have a new Federal Holiday – June 19th – Juneteenth.
Today marks the 156th anniversary of the date when Union Army Major General Gordon Granger stood in Galveston, Texas, and announced to the enslaved Americans in Texas they were free.
Our current Democratic President, Joseph Biden, and Vice President, Kamala Harris, have declared this day a federal holiday.
Despite the debilitating efforts of some state legislatures to disenfranchise African Americans from voting and the need to change policing so that African Americans are no longer an endangered species in the judicial system, I am happy with this designation.
Because I have unknown African ancestors who were victims of human trafficking and these heroes should be commemorated. It was a miracle they endured and survived the Middle Passage journey to land in the Americas.
Because I have unknown and known ancestors who were enslaved Americans that contributed to the success of the American experiment, and their “forced FREE” labor was the backbone of America’s economy. This country is still benefitting from those efforts.
Because this happiness is for Arkansas White (Maw), my maternal great-great-grandmother who was an enslaved American, 12 years old when emancipated, and separated from her family at that time. We have yet to find what happened to them and their descendants.
Because this joy is for Annie White Hargrove Fears (MaDear), my grandmother who had terrible memories of celebrating Juneteenth when she was a young girl and, now, I can commemorate it in peace for her.
When I was a child, she told me the African American community would celebrate Juneteenth on the church grounds with a picnic. However, domestic terrorists would constantly disrupt their celebration with their racist anger and destruction. Yet, the African American community would still gather the following year.
Because this joy is for all, who went before me with their enduring strength, faith, and hope for their children even when they lived in desperate times, and I commit never to forget them.
Because this is for all who come after me, and I must endeavor to educate about their proud heritage.
I am happy and proud that OUR country has taken another step towards redemption, recognizing this critical date to African Americans.
Now, let’s continue with securing voting rights and equality for the future generations of ALL Americans.