This weekend, many of us will be celebrating and recognizing Juneteenth in our own different ways – whether it’s spending time with family and friends, attending one of the many planned events in our community, or taking time for reflection. It’s also the first time that FamilyWorks will be officially observing the holiday, with a day off on Monday for all staff. I wanted to share a few items that have helped me reflect. We have so much further to go as a community, as a nation, and as a world before Black people, especially the descendants of the enslaved, are truly free. Hopefully, this time for reflection and more widespread recognition is a step for all of us in that direction.
The first link I’d like to share is an excerpt from How the Word is Passed by one of my favorite authors, Clint Smith, that was published in the Paris Review last year. Clint writes of his experience celebrating Juneteenth in Galveston, Texas, the foundation of why we recognize the holiday:
The second is a link to a Twitter thread from a few years ago, where Clint posted some of the newspaper ads of formerly enslaved families searching for long-lost members that he was reading in reflection of Juneteenth: https://mobile.twitter.com/clintsmithiii/status/876935317676339200.
I think about one of the core reasons why all of us are here at FamilyWorks – to help families we know, many of whom are the furthest away from justice, to be resilient and thrive. I think about the cost of enslaved families being ripped apart, a cost we are still realizing a century and a half later.
Finally, you may be celebrating in your own ways, in your own neighborhoods, but I wanted to share a link to some of the virtual events that are being hosted by the National Museum of African American History and Culture in DC. There are some events that focus on our history, and some that focus on the ways we continue to grapple with the legacy of slavery, such as in debates about monuments and what should be preserved, and how it is reflected in healthcare disparities for Black people.
I wish you all a reflective weekend and a happy Juneteenth!