…a nation should be celebrating, commemorating, or paying tribute to Black people, I do believe that we should be careful about the ways in which we choose to celebrate. Juneteenth is not for everyone and should not be purported to be as such. The continual triumph and excellence in spite of perpetual persecution of all Black people in the Un…
Renee Nishawn Scott
I agree with being "careful about the ways in which we choose to celebrate" but disagree with the idea that "Juneteenth is not for everyone." The June 19, 1865 General Order it celebrates itself was problematic (see my article below). But declaring it a federal holiday is an opportunity for all of us to study that past and think about how much farther we all have to go.
I say the same thing about the "Jewish" holiday of Passover, which also celebrates emancipation from slavery. The lesson of Passover, as the lesson for Juneteenth, should be the continuing fight against oppression, by anybody, to anybody. I have the privilege of family from both of these traditions, so we have the opportunity to share these stories and learn from each other. I would like to share that privilege with everyone.
But there are those who are trying to suppress and "white-wash" that history. Many states and localities are banning "critical race theory." The people there, especially the "white" children, are the ones who need to hear these stories more than anyone. Declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday is a wedge to open them to learning this true history. We should take advantage of that wedge.