We Want More Than Just A Day
I love black people experiencing joy. When George Floyd was murdered last year and the country erupted in riots, I asked black people in this very magazine to prioritize joy as a form of resistance. The year has gone by and many of the things black people asked for last summer have not occurred. Police are still dealt too much power, workplaces are not as equitable as possible, and more black people have been murdered since we lost George. One thing that did happen: Juneteenth became a national holiday.
Josh and Sherron let you know the importance of Juneteenth and why it’s a day that Black Americans, specifically Black Texans celebrate. I like the idea of black people having another day to prioritize joy and celebrate how our people, despite the societal ills and ramifications of slavery, still rose and made a culture so rich. But I know I want more than just a day. And I know my fellow black people want more than just a day. We are over the symbols of equality, a day off here, a task force thrown together to tackle racism, or another empty gesture that lacks intentionality.
We want action and what Juneteenth represents to us is black people taking their freedom. While we celebrate joy, we also organize, uplift, and pour back into our communities.
We demand the very government who gave us this day, to recognize that the prison system is modern day slavery and that a day off does not recognize the ways slavery is still alive today.
A day is nice, but it’s also simple. It means nothing when black people are still oppressed on all sides, when generational wealth is not attainable, when reparations have not been addressed nationally, and when all the worst sides of the pandemic impacted mostly black people. I don’t know what liberation in this generation looks like for black people, but I know that it will be very similar to what liberation looked like for us in the past: Black people taking matters into their own hands and uplifting each other to a place where everyone is able to live a life well deserved.