Reflecting on Juneteenth

In response to the cries of their citizens for racial justice, Virginia has proposed that the tradition of Juneteenth, commemorating the emancipation of Black Americans from slavery, should be recognized as a state holiday. The governor of Virginia, Dr. Ralph Northam brought on Virginia Beach native, Pharrell Williams to help introduce the proposal. Ironically, the idea is for the holiday to be a paid vacation day…

Gathering a consensus, many do not trust this proposal, seeing it as pandering to blacks as a means to calm protest. Others see it as a significant symbol in the struggle for change. I, myself take a more centered point of view…

The removal of confederate monuments, symbols of America’s less than perfect past and the implementation of holidays such as Juneteenth, to honor a very important step in the future of a more perfect union – and in what was the capital of the Confederacy leading the way! Is this not a message that the country is finally hearing its peoples calls for change? Could be…

I asked an older black man for his take on it. He had some advice that I believe is important for younger generations who are desperately seeking change… He said that they should not be satisfied with mere peace treaties. He has seen throughout generations where his people accept concessions and ease their stances. He urged they should not stop their protest until they KNOW (not assume), that a suitable standard for cultivating true social/economical equality is achieved. They should understand and have intelligible demands. To me, he was saying only they, the people, have the power to make sure that Juneteenth is not just degraded into another political maneuver and a very cruel reminder of a government’s deliberate attempts to hold back a people based on their racial identity. Instead, they should make sure it actually marks a turning in the culture of how America treats race…

All in all, I admire Virginia’s proposal to make Juneteenth a state holiday. I believe it to be a courageous move. It sets a standard for our nation. It also shows the consciousness and transformative power of a state that’s willing to not only recognize its fault, but stands to correct them.

I am a Virginia native, and I’m proud to see the present mind of Virginia overcoming its leading role in the history of American slavery. Hopefully, our nation as a whole can emulate this mindset, and take diligent steps to correct the great wrongs made in its less-than-perfect past.

I do believe in the ideal America. I believe that all of its principles are achievable, and I will fight constantly to ensure that I do everything I can to realize those truths.

Happy Juneteenth to all.

Q, 6/19/20


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