This week has been one of much contemplation for me. Yes, I want to celebrate as we've learned about statues, monuments and flags celebrating and memorializing racism and prejudice being dismantled and taken down. Longstanding food products depicting racist images (Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, and the like) are being repackaged and re-marketed, but it's hard to feel joyful. Surely we feel a sense of progress, but we can not allow this joy and sense of accomplishment to lull us back to sleep.
Please be reminded that we can't get too happy because the truth of the matter is that these memorials and remembrances of our oppression are simply too painful not to think of them in any way other than sad, senseless, and disgusting and with great despair that we allowed them to go on for decades. Yes, we've come a long way baby, but.... we still have so far to go. The good thing is that we are making long-overdue progress. Even though the race is won by the "slow and steady", we can't get complacent because of the recent progress. Change has already been so very slow, so we must put the emphasis on the "steady"!!!
We now find ourselves with the power we've always had, but for whatever reason, we didn't exercise. We are now wielding our power in a way that is getting results. The challenge is to stay focused, maintain, and increase the momentum that currently exists. Our energy and stamina are an absolute must!!! It's not enough to just be "woke"; we now have to incorporate sustainable energy and action that remains diligent, intentional, and focused. We've always known that racism, prejudice, and bias have been a continual source of hate that has long oppressed us and kept us under the foot of the rich, white, powerful, and privileged.
This week marks the fifth anniversary of the tragic church massacre, in which 9 people were murdered, which took place in Charleston, SC on June 17, 2015, at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. It is a staunch reminder of how hate has directly affected our communities, but it is also a reminder of the power of forgiveness. The perpetrator sought to start a race war, but due to the relatives and loved ones of the victims recognizing the best course of action was to forgive, we avoided starting a race war.
Unfortunately, it didn't cause us to dismantle and overcome the 400-year-old race war we were already in and continue to be in today. However, the opportunity is here today to change all of that. We must continue to work together and to embrace the assistance of our allies to do just that - end racism, oppression, and police brutality. Together, we are making a difference. We've now moved from a moment to a movement. Let's all commit to doing our part to continue to work to make equality and equity something we ALL have.
We can't stop now. Now is the time to keep pushing and being relentless, even though it's uncomfortable. In fact, it may even hurt, but it is our responsibility to give it all that we have so that our children and grandchildren can be the beneficiaries of a "whole" life where they can hold their heads up and lead a meaningful life without having to deal with the carnage and atrocity of racism. Let's not get so caught up into celebrating our so-called freedom, but let's recognize that this is what Juneteenth is really about!!!
VOTE!!! VOTE!!! VOTE!!! ~ While voting for a President is essential... don't sleep on this... just as important, if not more so, is voting for Senators and Congress members that will advocate and fight for what's right!!! I implore you to exercise your right to vote... this truly matters!!