This week’s Juneteenth celebrations across the country was historical to note.
I, for one, enjoyed as I always do the mass gathering of Black people that is festive, full of love and pride. But as 12:01 am, June 20th struck, I’m reminded and cautioned in overly-celebrating the pyrrhic victories of posthumous citations, pardons and celebrations of those events and people who have significance to African-American history.
The question that should follow these historic and the long overdue as the announcement of the end of slavery itself, what do we do from this day forward? I’m cautioned as we should be, to not wait for the sanctioning of celebrating things and people of importance.
Something in the African-American psyche that no doubt was embedded throughout slavery and the Jim Crow era is the need for affirmation and acceptance.
Enjoy, but not to get lost in the “we have arrived” mentality as in the cases “victories of desegregation” and the “first Black this, first Black that” that lack in any concrete metric that would underscore wholesale change and collective progress in areas that continue to see us rank last along the social, economic and achievement spectrums.
Doing so dulls our appetite for struggle and calls for meaningful change and progress. The progress that strengthens our families, communities. Fills our refrigerators, gas tanks, bank accounts, establishing institutions and self-servicing systems. Staying awake is not enough, being conscious and intentional in building upon the efforts and sacrifices of our ancestors and not merely celebrating them must go hand in hand.
If you’ve celebrated Juneteenth and yet didn’t or don’t support the cause and discussion of reparations, and/or the creation and implementation of a SPECIFIC political agenda that addresses the social, political and economic disparities amongst African-Americans, then let’s just call Juneteenth a picnic or another day off.
A day that will surely have had and will have had infinitum, the most benefit to the coffers, and intrinsic aims of blunt force capitalism and commercial interests.
Before sometime mislabels or creates a narrative of my position. There’s no diametric opposition to capitalism on its face, but just the exploitative nature that has seen many benefits from our communities outside of our community and the creation of a permanent, albeit happy and most celebratory underclass of descendants of an enslaved and glorious people.
Suggested reading from The Publisher: File Photos