As Juneteenth approaches, let us be reminded of where we came from. Yes, as Black Americans our history isn’t so great but there’s a lot we can learn from it. Juneteenth is the emancipation of the enslaved in the United States. June 19th, 1865 was the day that the remaining slaves were told they were free after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued more than two years prior. Juneteenth is the celebration of how far Black Americans have come and has paved the way for historical movements like the Civil Rights Movement.

It gave black people the courage to say we are important and allowed us to show how creative and inventive we are by formulating Negro History Week that later turned into Black History Month. We were freed so that we may show we are more than a slave. We are unsure of our history before slavery, I personally think that we descended from Kings and Queens of Africa, or tribes who could have developed technology even Wakandans would be jealous of.

If only we were given the chance to bear witness to the “what if..”. However, the aftermath of slavery brought us, great men and women, that we can’t help but celebrate. Men like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Barack Obama. It also brought us great women like Angela Davis, Shirley Chisholm, and Fannie Lou Hamer. They have laid a foundation for those who come after them. Each of them taught us that there are different ways of handling similar situations. 

We have to learn from our past in order to move on with our future. It is quite noticeable, in 2021, that the past is repeating itself. Although it started covertly; it has increased to blatant Jim Crow racism.

Black people are being attacked for walking in a predominantly white neighborhood, shot for going for a jog, accused of a crime, and before they are able to explain themselves lethal action is taken against them. For black people we no longer live in a world where we are innocent until proven guilty, we are guilty on sight and maybe we get the chance to prove our innocence. In just a year 2020 alone we have witnessed so much heartbreak and injustice.

Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, and Daniel Prude just to name a few; say their names aloud, these men and women were parents, siblings, or children of someone, they were human beings, their lives matter. Their deaths came too soon and by no means justifiable.

When we say Black Lives Matter we are not excluding the lives of other races we are simply bringing light to the lives that are currently being targeted. Black people have protested silently, they have kneeled against injustice, they have rioted, and followed what the instructions provided to them, yet it doesn’t seem to have made a major impact. Laws have not been formed to protect Black people from the people who have sworn to serve and protect them.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

This is not an anti-white or anti-police matter. All people of color ask is to not be targeted for the color of their skin. We are black 24 hours a day,7 days a week, and 365 days a year. It has gotten to the point where black people do not know who to call in times of need, they are afraid to call the police in a dangerous situation because in said situation they could end up the perpetrator. 

As we reflect this month on Juneteenth and the Black Lives Matter Movement, let’s remember every black person is not a thug or ghetto. A gathering of black people does not mean danger or illegal activity. So please think twice before calling the police, think twice about attacking an individual that is walking through your neighborhood. There may be a reason for it, don’t just assume the worst. We as black people have endured so much yet we still find ways to shine through all this darkness.

Although my skin color may cause people to fear me, or believe that I am less qualified for the same opportunities, I do not wish to be of another race. I am always amazed at the accomplishments black people have made and the way we continue to embrace and showcase the wonder that is black culture and for that, I’m like James Brown, “Black and Proud”.

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