Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pro & Con Views on Juneteenth - HAPPY JUNETEENTH !

 
WE CELEBRATE JUNETEENTH!
The Pro-Juneteenth position:
New Orleans, June 19 / JUNETEENTH.com --  The observance of Juneteenth is about the journey and achievement of African Americans - from a horrific period of sanctioned enslavement to the pinnacle of human endeavors. It is a story of pride, resilience and determination that will always be of historical and spiritual importance – as it serves us well to understand that together, we can overcome all obstacles in our path.  
As we know it, June 19th 1865, was the day word reached the enslaved in Galveston, Texas that their emancipation had been made formal, though it had been so since January, 1, 1863. And with those words, our country changed, this world changed. And, with bold and contentious decisions, we have continued to change – striving always to make it right, to make it better for all.
Again, we have the opportunity to look back at this nearly century-and-a-half journey of progress. We pay homage to those who have gone before us, those that have paved the road to freedom – many with their lives.  We stand on their shoulders.  We, as a collective, from all walks of life, are a part of this victory. We celebrate freedom.
Through our celebrations we reflect this independence. Through grass roots organizing and community collaboration we enjoy the creativity and dedication that produce celebrations from the dinner table to the backyard barbeque, from the neighborhood block party to the city wide parade, and from the school cafeteria to the corporate conference room. There is no governing body that sanctions or approves Juneteenth celebrations or Juneteenth organizations. We encourage everyone to participate in a local event or start their own tradition. Strengthening the ties that bind us should always be our objective.  Unity and peace are our goals.
As we pay tribute to the journey, we acknowledge the many roles and contributions of the African American spirit to our society.  We embrace the past as well as the future that only unity, respect and appreciation can bring.  To the countless supporters, organizers and attendees of Juneteenth celebrations hosted all across this nation and beyond, you are writing the history of our country and our world – there can be no greater honor than that. We thank you.
 We Celebrate Juneteenth!
 JUNETEENTH.com
The other voice on Juneteeth:
The counter juneteeth argument: 
As mentioned here before, the National Juneteenth Holiday Commission http://www.juneteenth.us/, is working feverishly to get June 19th set aside as a national holiday, ala the Black 4th of July!  Their campaign is based on the historically false premise that Lincon's Proclamation actually freed our ancestors from chattel enslavement. (See Lerone Bennet, Jr, "Forced Into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream" and my 2001 essay, "Juneteenth Is Mis-guided!", for the historical truth about the proclamation)
 
Rather than press for a June 19 holiday,the Commission would at least be on firmer historical grounds by calling for a holiday on December 6.  Why? Because on December 6, 1865, the several states ratified the infamous 13th Amendment to the constitution which legally abolished chattel slavery, if they just have to have a so-called Black Independence Day!  The 13th Amendment didn't happen out of the goodness of the euro's heart; they were forced into it via the heroic efforts of the thousands of Black soldiers who fought in the Union Army against the south.
 
But, even that date, based on the amendment is perilous to the aspirations of our people, due to the double-edged sword nature of the language of the amendment:
 
      "Amendment 13 - Slavery Abolished. Ratified 12/6/1865.
1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, EXCEPT as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
 
The euros kept open the slavery door as a means to "house" and control our people by still permitting slavery "as a punishment for crime ", ANY level of crime, misdemeanor or felony!  Who did you think they had in mind? US!  Lincoln wanted to deport our ancestors  back to Afrika, without meaningful assistance to support them.  Further, onced liberated, many of our ancestors, were forced to work for bare-bones wages at the same "jobs" that they did while enslaved.  Many others could not find work and thus were considered idle persons/vagrants.  Dr. Charsye McIntyre ("Criminalizing A Race") pointed out in her book that many states/cities. counties in the 1800s deliberately enacted criminal laws making vagrancy a felony, thus paving the way for the states to continue a form of legalized enslavement of our people via the 13th Amendment! And today, our people and Hispanics are the majority population of the country's jails and prisons and are ALL candidates for state-sponsored enslavement!
 
The salient issue is this: why are we still begging euros to sanction/legitimize us?  Dammit, if we want a national holiday, then make it so! Do the same things many of us did before Dr. King's birthday was made a euro-approved holiday.  I can recall that I would not go to work on Dr. Kings birthday, and would not send my children to school on that day, and would further send a note to the teacher telling them why I was doing it. Many, many others of us across the country did the same thing. 
 
Frankly, I think there are more serious issues confronting us that we need to devote our limited energies and resources to. But, if we truly want an independence day, get off your knees and,
TAKE IT, MAKE IT SO!
Kwasi
 
 
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