On Juneteenth, I sat at my desk and gazed out the window. I searched between the blue sky's white clouds for questions, answers, and ideas. The semester ended, but I remained at work on call in anticipation of disruption during a holiday.
No students stopped by to say goodbye or receive advice on studying during the summer break.
What do you do during downtime in the office?
During these summer days, I hunt for ways to empty ego and fill pages with words that challenge common sense. I read, think, and write.
This week, I read about the significance of Juneteenth. What follows are some of my findings and perspectives.
Why do you believe Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863? Some argue that his decision had less to do with freedom and more with a strategy to counter losses his army faced against Confederate forces.
Is that true, or propaganda produced by liberals? Perhaps, the truth behind the decision to outlaw slavery lies in the agenda to ban books, eliminate critical race theory, and destroy Black studies' curricula.
In 2020, Biden’s administration acknowledged Juneteenth as an official US holiday to honor the day in 1865 when emancipation arrived for enslaved Africans in Galveston, Texas. Chaos surrounded the 2023 celebrations in Milwaukee and Willowbrook. The shooters did not take the day off; they injured and killed gatherers without regard for the occasion.
Juneteenth is not a public holiday in Antigua and Barbuda. From my office, I traveled virtually to parades in Texas and parties in New York. Then, reality hit me, and I returned home.
I scrolled to an article about the death of three-time Olympic medalist Tori Bowe. She died of pregnancy complications at age 32. The case brought much-needed attention to the disturbing Black maternal mortality rate.
Bowe’s story inspired more reasons to continue working towards improvements in the medical field.
Does tragedy encourage or discourage you from taking action?
From the Bowe article, I dropped into the loophole of Trump updates and Titanic submersions. I didn’t stay too long on other stories before climbing out to read about three survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
Concerning Juneteenth, the 102-year-old Viola Fletcher said, "I feel free, but what surrounds us is not free enough for me. I think it could be a lot better.” When I glanced at the open tabs with reports of violence, health disparities, and injustices, I nodded, closed the browsers, and left.
On June 21, when I returned to this piece, I didn’t click on any news outlets. I internalized questions about freedom.
What can we do now? How do we teach liberation? Why do we continue to struggle with structural inequalities?
Three days after Juneteenth, I started the day with capoeira and ten miles of running. I warmed up with music, pushups, some kicks, and flips. When I left my driveway, I hit pause on the tunes and moved forward with my feet.
Thoughts about freedom came in between my breaths and strides. Later at my daughter's graduation, I grew concerned about the role of education in liberation. Schools need more to create substantial change.
Four days after Juneteenth, I posted this blog piece to play today's part in spreading awareness and inspiring action. We must work as individuals and with others to achieve freedom. Public holidays are not enough.
If you need help figuring out your role, subscribe to this blog. One of these days, I will write something that ignites your passion, curiosity, and drive to lead or support a movement.