By The Pajiba Staff | Pajiba Love | June 19, 2020 |
By The Pajiba Staff | Pajiba Love | June 19, 2020 |
Possible (probable?) Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris announced this morning that she is co-sponsoring a bill to make Juneteenth a national holiday.
Kamala Harris just announced on MSNBC that she's cosponsoring legislation to make Juneteenth a national holiday.— Brian McBride (@BrianDMcBride) June 18, 2020
The Root Staff seconds Senator Harris’ motion: “Forget the 4th of July! Juneteenth is the day that should be celebrated by all as a pivotal point in America’s freedom story.” (The Root)
The force to make it a holiday, meanwhile, begins with 93-year-old Opal Lee:
1. This is Opal Lee, the force behind the movement to make #Juneteenth a national holiday. Also known as Freedom Day, it is the day that commemorates when slavery officially ended in the USA. At 93, Mrs. Lee keeps banging the drum for the recognition of this day. pic.twitter.com/qrs9im0YWl— Lupita Nyong'o (@Lupita_Nyongo) June 19, 2020
It will be recognized in NYC, at least, starting next year.
Black history is American history. Proud to announce that beginning next year, Juneteenth will be an official city and school holiday.— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) June 19, 2020
Harris, Stacey Abrams, and others on what Juneteenth means to them. (USA Today)
Jamil Smith sees Juneteenth as the “closest thing there is to an honest Independence Day,” but also sees June 19th, 1865 as the “precise tipping point when America had a choice to go right and failed.” (Rolling Stone)
Laverne Cox has a word.
And here’s a word from President Obama.
Juneteenth has never been a celebration of victory, or an acceptance of the way things are. It's a celebration of progress. It's an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible—and there is still so much work to do.https://t.co/5XCRdnk3iR— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 19, 2020
Michelle has thoughts, too.
View this post on Instagram
Most of us were taught that slavery came to an end when President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. But as is so often the case, the full promise of this country was delayed for segments of the African-American community. And for enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, freedom didn’t come until June 19, 1865. And what I love about #Juneteenth is that even in that extended wait, we still find something to celebrate. Even though the story has never been tidy, and Black folks have had to march and fight for every inch of our freedom, our story is nonetheless one of progress. I think of my own family’s journey. Both of my grandfathers were the grandchildren of enslaved people. They grew up in the Jim Crow South and migrated north in search of a better life. But even then, they were still shut out of jobs and schools and opportunities because of the color of their skin. But they pressed forward with dignity and with purpose, raising good kids, contributing to their communities, and voting in every election. And though they didn’t live to see it themselves, I can see the smiles on their faces knowing that their great-granddaughters ended up playing ball in the halls of the White House—a magnificent structure built by enslaved Americans. All across the country, there are so many more parts to this story—the generations of families whose work and service and protest has led us forward, even if the promise we seek is often delayed. This Juneteenth, let’s all pledge to keep using our voices—and our votes—to keep that story marching forward for our own children, and theirs.
Ayanna Pressley would like a word, as well. Specifically, with AG William Barr (the replies to this tweet are a joy!).
So AG Barr let’s skip the pleasantries. Next time you set foot in my district I demand a face to face meeting where you look me in the eye and explain why you tear gassed peaceful protestors. Understood?— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) June 19, 2020
I will have counsel present @MassAGO
Today is a great day to support Black-owned pop-culture related business around the Internet. Here’s a good place to start. (The Mary Sue)
The Times has some remarkable self-portraits from Black photographers. These are really good. (NYTimes)
Here’s Annette Gordon-Reed on growing up with Juneteenth, where she considered the day to belong to Texans and, more specifically, Black Texans, and how those Black Texans moved around the country and spread the tradition. (New Yorker)
Slate, republishing a 2001 piece from the Texas Observer, looks back on a Juneteenth incident where three Black teenagers — Carl Baker, Steve Booker, and Anthony Freeman — drowned while being transported by police officers across a lake. The white police officers survived, and escaped charges. (Slate)
Nine Black Jews speak about what it means this year to have “a true Passover and a true Juneteenth.” (Forward)
It hits real close to home right now — cops wearing masks in Tulsa — but if you haven’t seen it, Watchmen will be made available for free on HBO this weekend. Here is a guide to the special Juneteenth programming available this weekend (in addition to Miss Juneteenth, reviewed by Ciara). (Washington Post)
Check out the Google Doodle (Google)
Finally, the always delightful Amber Ruffin answers your questions about Juneteenth, reminding white people that today is not the day to wear a costume.
Header Image Source: Getty Images