Two years. That’s how long it took the enslaved men and women of Texas to finally learn of their freedom.
The war was over, the Emancipation Proclamation signed, and the laws had changed. Yet, it still took two years for this information to reach Texas.
It has been made clear throughout history that it is rarely about the law. At the core, the issue lies within humanity and within the system itself. Laws cannot change the hatred, greed, and racism that still exists within the hearts of those against us. If the freedom of the enslaved was so important, why was spreading this information, not a top priority? Slavery may have been made “illegal” in its original form, but the system stood (and continues to stand) true to its core beliefs.
The failure to provide and disseminate vital information/resources is only one part of systemic inequality. Though, it is not always news of freedom; sometimes, it is the failure to provide medical equipment, financial resources, or opportunity.
Today serves as a reminder that those who benefit from the system perpetuate injustice by being silent. We must speak up, we must share our knowledge and resources.
Those of us who can, should.
In remembrance of today, we cannot forget that our “liberation” was only ink on paper. Order No. 3 was and is indeed a cause for celebration, but it was only the beginning.
155 years ago our lineage’s history changed. This is why we celebrate. But, we cannot forget that the system is not on our side. Continue to look into the past, for it provides us with an opportunity to mourn, learn, and rejoice. Most importantly, it can serve as a guide as we continue the fight for equality. We can’t stop, not until freedom, justice, and liberty are truly for all.
June 19th, 1865 was the first step, but we deserve more than the bare minimum.
Happy Juneteenth. Love.