As we come upon this Juneteenth holiday that has been proceeded by social unrest and cries for equality, justice, and freedom for Black people, it can not be lost that all the hopes that Juneteenth represents have not fully come to pass. Juneteenth symbolizes when the final word that slavery was abolished was received on June 19, 1865. It symbolized that the constitution’s promise that “All men are created equal” finally applied to Black people because we were free and freedom meant equality. Or did it? 100 years later a man by the name of Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream of achieving the promise that we were going to be free at last. Unfortunately, he was assassinated for this dream. But as a legacy, he left behind the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968. There was hope for equality and a level playing field for housing and employment. But along with it came redlining and unfair lending practices in the housing market, gerrymandering to make sure Black votes didn’t count, underfunded schools, and racial profiling. Our hopes of freedom and equality were again smothered. Still in 2020 after the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others, Blacks are still fighting for freedom and equality, shouting that our lives do matter. The difference this time…. is that the world is shouting with us.
Let us raise our voices with the world to unequivocally and unapologetically say that the lives of Black people do matter. It matters as we look into the faces of all of the children, adolescents, young adults and families of color that we stand behind, and value their lives and recognize the struggles of injustice and inequality and will be the voice for those that are unable to shout for themselves “ we matter’.