Thank you for the day off. But I will not be celebrating the 4th of July.
This year there was nationwide awareness of a holiday that black Americans have celebrated for years, Juneteenth. June 19th marks the true independence of all Americans. I was listening to the radio on the way to work one day and the guest said it best. There is no July 4th without June 19th. If you celebrate one, you must celebrate the other.
What is Juneteenth, you may ask?
As my friend pointed out in a conversation last week, a quick google will give anyone who really wants to know all the information they need. But, since I’m nice, I’ve already done the search for you here and here.
So, you see, celebrating July 4th, without celebrating Juneteenth, is a blatant disregard for the fact that all Americans were indeed not free. And as a black American watching the senseless murders still taking place, I ask myself, are we even free now?
I am free to drive my car. But am I free from a cop dragging me out of my car and tazing me?
I am free to own a home and sleep in my bed. But, am I free from being murdered in my own home by cops and written off as a mistake?
My son is free to walk around our neighborhood. But is he free from someone feeling like he does not belong?
My husband, a fitness enthusiast, is free to go for a run. But is he free from being chased down because of the color of his skin?
I’ve made a vow that from this year on, I will take June 19th off.
While a lot of companies are moving in the right direction and making Juneteenth a paid holiday, all have not. And I will no longer wait on someone else to validate for me that it is a day to be celebrated. It is a holiday whether my company wants to acknowledge it or not! It is a nonnegotiable for me.
So this July 4th weekend, I’ll enjoy the long weekend with my family, get some work done. But, I will not be celebrating freedom until it is given to everyone.