The Recognition of Juneteenth

“You cannot dismantle what you cannot see. You cannot challenge what you do not understand.” 
― Layla F. Saad, Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor

It has now been made official that Juneteenth will forever be recognized as a federal holiday.  There has been a shift throughout numerous states and organizations who were individually commemorating this event, but as a collective whole to note the importance is monumental.  I admit it wasn’t until the past several years that I even found out what Juneteenth was, and until last year truly paid attention.  

Below are two collages I made for a Juneteenth local celebration:

Part of the Anti-racist movement is to recognize the societal racism that exists within you.  It is to not just point fingers at the loud destructive ways people exhibit racism, but the microaggressions that occur on a daily basis.  Even as a person of color, I can admit that I have participated in some of these microaggressions unconsciously.  These things have been ingrained in us, and become woven as part of us.  It’s easy to become defensive and note one is not racist or is purely color blind, but this is not reality.  

This past year I have read multiple books on Anti-racism, my current book is by Layla F. Saad entitled Me and White Supremacy.  It breaks down reflective questions regarding systemic racism, white supremacy, silence, power, and privilege in a span of a 28 day challenge.  There is such change that can happen when we can note the ways we have participated in this and to begin to take a stand in conversations with our friends, co-workers, family, and in our communities. 

As you celebrate Juneteenth this weekend, explore ways for you to dissect and reflect on how this has been part of your life.  It’s uncomfortable, but it’s the only way change can occur.

“Here is a radical idea that I would like you to understand: white silence is violence. It actively protects the system. It says I am okay with the way things are because they do not negatively affect me and because I enjoy the benefits I receive with white privilege.” -Layla F. Saad

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