The 19th of June every year marks, historically, the day the last remaining slaves were emancipated from the Confederacy. On a general note, this day (popularly known as Juneteenth) also creates awareness for the celebration of the culture and heritage of the African American society, whose culture is not entirely independent from the African culture and heritage. However, our Juneteenth celebration today focuses on the ’emancipation’ in question; a freedom that is threatened.
On a day where we are meant to recount the sufferings of our forefathers and how much progress we have seen so far, we are once more, face-to-face with the struggle to survive, the struggle to actually capitalize on the emancipation we celebrate today. Of course, we have come a long way from the 19th century, we have made remarkable progress across various sectors. Our forefathers will be proud that despite the setbacks and discrimination we face, we have taken bold steps to actually make our mark out there in the world. We have made our mark in the entertainment industry, sports, business, arts, and so on.
But still, why the long face? What about our emancipation which its celebration holds today raises the question of how true our emancipation is? Take a look at the black community and you would understand. It is 2020, 155 years from the day the Order for the emancipation was made official, and we are still facing almost the same problems we had faced throughout the period of servitude. Despite the idea and practice of democracy, the problems faced by the black community persists. There are still wide cases of racial discrimination, leading to hate crimes, police brutality, racial profiling. In fact, it appears as though the situation looks even worse than the period of slavery.
It has gotten to the point where black people have to risk their lives by taking to the streets in a time of a global pandemic, to protest the rights of black people and to demand that the ill-treatment meted on black people stops. From the death of Ahmaud Arbery, the death of George Floyd and the death of Breonna Taylor, the members of the black community, both in the United States and around the world have taken to the streets, again despite the pandemic, to protest and demand that these actions stop. If it has gotten to the point where we have to risk the deadly COVID-19 pandemic to protest our rights, do you not see how much of a question our emancipation is?
Of course, there are laws and statutes we can rely on to seek redress for what we face, what we are seeking is a life where we would not have to go to courts before we can protect our basic civil rights. As a race that has seen so much persecution, we do not deserve to be treated less than we should be treated in the eyes of the law and human morality. Today, we are making our celebration of emancipation out there in the streets, with the goal of reversing the question hinged upon our freedom and changing it to a complete resolution that would change the perception of how black people should be treated for the better.