Today is Juneteenth. It is the remembrance when those enslaved in Galveston, Texas were given word of their emancipation on June 19, 1865. This was over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. They are documented as the last to receive the news of the emancipation.
As an African American woman I reflect often on what it means to be free. Especially during this time when George Floyd’s murder and the numerous other Black people unjustly killed by law enforcement has awakened in people a need for justice; and it makes me reflect on my ancestors. Juneteenth has evolved over time. Being from Chicago it is a date I knew little about until moving to South Carolina.
June 19th is also a day of remembrance surrounding the death of my mother in law. A loving and kind person who passed less than year after my husband and I married. It is her and my late parents that I also think about today. Our ancestors are the building blocks of who we are as people. We carry within us their core values.
I am blessed to make my income doing what I’m passionate about. I work in politics helping to get people elected who reflect good values and ideas for a unified nation and world. Doing what I once volunteered to do, now as my profession makes me pinch myself. Maya Angelou’s poem Still I Rise has a line, “I am the hope and dream of the slave.” I carry this with me everyday. I think of my parents, grandparents, and other ancestors and pray that I am living up to their hopes and dreams.