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Juneteenth: Free & Can't Breathe "She Speaks"

Today we celebrate Juneteenth, commemorating the day that slavery ended two years after it was officially abolished in 1863. African Americans still endure the injustices of today such as police brutality.


In response to racial tension in the past weeks, due to the recent killings of unarmed black men and women, many African Americans take to the streets to celebrate Juneteenth. The history of Juneteenth begins with the day that Union soldiers traveled to Galveston, TX in 1865 to announce that slavery was over. This coming two years after slavery had been officially abolished in 1863 by President Lincoln passing the 13th amendment. Though slaves were officially free they still endured retaliation by confederate soldiers, politicians, and former slave owners. Forms of retaliation that African Americans endured included the enforcement of the black codes and brutal lynchings that carried on throughout the south. Many confederate allies unwillingly accepted their loss to the union while still sending a message. During the reconstruction era, many former slaves migrated north in hopes of better economic opportunity and safety from racist "self-proclaimed" Christians such as the Ku Klux Klan.


Given the deaths of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Breana Taylor, and unfortunately so many more, it is safe to say that there is still a serious amount of work that needs to be done in relation to the way African Americans are treated in the United States. We're free but can't run in a predominantly white neighborhood. We're free but aren't allowed to even sleep peacefully in our own vehicles or homes. We're free but, are gunned down in the streets for fun by cops who are not held accountable by their fellow police officers, police chiefs, and our country's own justice system. What is the meaning of gaining freedom, if we can't breathe? I find it very ironic that "give me liberty or give me death", was quoted by a white man Patrick Henry. Henry more than likely had the opportunity to partake in the liberties of this country after the Revolutionary War. On the contrary, my people were still in chains and are still fighting for their lives centuries later. As we celebrate it is important to educate future generations of the importance of Juneteenth, and the work that still needs to be done. Celebrate, Speak Up, and Take Action, because resilience and perseverance are the very reasons why we are still breathing today!


Sources

"This is Why Juneteenth is Important for America" The Root, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iu6ntwHws5g


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