Tag Archives: Juneteenth

Juneteenth is the Newest Federal American Holiday

The late Martin Luther King Jr. once said the following:

“I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.”

This week, the arc of justice finally reached it’s mark this week. President Biden officially designated Juneteenth as a federal holiday. As others have pointed out (which I agree with), as important this proclamation is, it must be backed up by laws up holding equality and shutting down of institutional racism in every fact of our society.

The fact is that African-Americans have built this country. Instead of thanking them and giving greater opportunities, we have degraded them, dehumanized them, and denied the most basic of rights that we claim is due to every American.

In a move that surprised no one, several members of Congress, who are all male, Caucasian, and Republican, voted no. Thankfully, a majority knew and understood how vitally important it is to at least try to reach the ideals written in our founding documents.

This is just a step in the road to real equality, but it is huge and if nothing else, a day to be proud of.

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Thoughts on Juneteenth

America is a country built on double standards. The basis of our cultural and legal ideals comes from need to be free as a person and a citizen. But America is also a country built on the backs of African-Americans. For most of our history, they have been used, degraded, de-humanized and denied the most basic of rights.

In the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others, the country has become mobilized to right the wrongs of the past.

Today is Juneteenth. I have to admit that up until recently, I had not heard of this day. Now that I know about it, I wish that it had part of the curriculum when I was in school.

Across the political and cultural spectrum, there have been calls to make Juneteenth a national holiday. In my home state of New York, it has been declared a state holiday.

After 400 years of servitude, it is about time we gave the African-American community their due. It’s time to demolish the economic, political, and social structures that have forced Americans of color into a permanent underclass. It’s time to live up to the ideals that the United States is built upon.

Only then will we no longer live with a double standard.

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