Berlin Wall: How's God? She's Black. June 14, 2018.
Photo Credit: Gisella D'Alessandro
This Friday, June 19th, marks 155 years since the Black community was "freed" from slavery. Unfortunately, Juneteenth cannot be celebrated as joyously as it should be, because:
Slavery never truly ended, it shape-shifted.
Racism is still prevalent, both on a superficial and subconcious level.
Systemic racism is ingrained in this country's foundation.
The list goes on...and these are some of the reasons as to why I chose to place the word freed in quotation marks, because the Black community is not free.
As a white woman, I will never fully grasp what the Black community, my Black friends and colleagues, go through on a daily basis. I also recognize the absurd amount of privilege I have, simply due to the fact that I have much lower melanin levels – the fact that I am white. Recognizing all of this, I am also aware about how much I still need to learn, and how important it is for me to listen, and to use my voice and platform to amplify that of the Black community.
In this blog I share my thoughts on this issue, to bring awareness to Juneteenth, a day too few people know about. I am also attaching some resources in case you would like to learn more - (words that are bold and underlined are linked).
To begin, here is a rhetorical question for you to consider:
What’s the point of celebrating the 4th of July if not all citizens are free and treated equally?
We are not a free country until 100% of the population is equal - until the Black and other communities of color live their lives freely and to the fullest – without their melanin levels, or backgrounds, stopping them.
Regardless of religion, I am sure most of us have grown up with the principle of reciprocity, "treat others the way you want to be treated". This to me is the simplest, yet most important thing that we should all be doing on a daily basis - it should be part of who we are as people.
We MUST treat everyone with the same levels of love, respect, and kindness, because we are not any better than our neighbors. And as mentioned in my previous blog, we must Live and Let Live.
Juneteenth is a time we should all celebrate - no matter our melanin levels or background. The reason is simple: we should all want the best for each other, and we should be celebrating the freedom and liberty of every single citizen, not just the ones with low melanin levels - aka, white privileged people.
We are not Well until we are ALL WELL.
We are not Free until we are ALL FREE.
If you agree with these points, please consider signing this petition to make Juneteenth a National, and Federal, holiday.
If you would like to learn more, or act, check out these links:
And while you're at it, make sure to also check out and support TRILLFIT - a Black
woman-owned business that brings wellness and hip-hop together.
In this list you will find various wellness-oriented, Black-owned businesses to
support in the Boston area (TRILLFIT included).
Please watch this.
National list of businesses to support.
This link will direct you to all the resources needed - including phone numbers to call, petitions to sign, places to donate to, registering to vote, information for protesters, and endless more resources.
A list of nonfiction books to help you educate yourself on racism in the U.S. and its
constant, deadly impact.
(To add to this list, read: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks)
If you have Netflix, search up Black Lives Matter to check out the BLM category.
There you will find movies/series such as When They See Us, 13th, The Death
and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, and Becoming.
This website shows you a list of companies that use slavery, with the help of
the 13th Amendment which states, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude,
except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly
convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their
jurisdiction." These companies label Black people criminals in order to legally
justify profiting off of using them as slaves and forcing them into performing
Most important, as real change comes from action and improvement in our behaviors, we, specifically white people, need to educate ourselves continuously. If you have recommendations on books, articles, documentaries (you name it), please share in the comments or reach out to me via DM.
We need to bring change now, and that starts with us and bettering our own selves with education and the right action - as well as educating those in our own household, or "circle".
Let's work hard to make sure that this is the last Juneteenth where the Black community is not free - let's make sure that the next Juneteenth we can all celebrate the Black community's pure, full freedom.
With all the love,