Recommit to Black Freedom
To our Black Indivisibles — Happy Juneteenth!!
To our non-Black Indivisibles,
Today is the federal celebration of Juneteenth (the actual holiday was yesterday) — A federal holiday signed into being by President Biden last year. But Juneteenth has a long history dating back to June 19, 1865, the day that Union troops entered Galveston, Texas and the final official seat of slavery in the US was liberated — two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation that we so often celebrate (learn more about it here).
For Black people in the United States, Juneteenth has served as a yearly reminder that though they achieved freedom in policy, the fight still continues.
That fight manifests against the racial disparities in mass incarceration, the Black-white economic divide, the horrifyingly low average life expectancy for Black trans women, the disproportionate rate of police killing Black people, the disparity in educational achievement and opportunity for Black Americans, the increased maternal mortality rate for Black women, and the myriad other frontiers that have yet to be addressed.
Many non-Black people across the country are getting this day off and see it as just another federal holiday — a free day to celebrate and relax however you see fit. The Indivisible offices are also closed today (this email was written at the end of last week, don’t worry). We’re hoping that you will join us in seeing this day as an opportunity to reflect on the many lingering effects of slavery in America and our ongoing need to fight, every day, against our own socially-conditioned racist impulses and the festering impact of white supremacy.
Because the fights listed above don’t just belong to Black Americans. Their ends are contingent upon eliminating some of the very privileges American society has held dear since the first enslaved African stepped foot on American soil. To break this generational cycle of oppression, the rest of the country — including our Indivisible community — must step up to eradicate the systems that uphold oppression.
To do so, we must be cognizant of these systems not solely when we’re working on a goal that is specific to racial justice, but in all aspects of our activism:
We must center, uplift, and learn from our most marginalized communities. And, on this Juneteenth, we must specifically do so from the Black community. Let’s use this day to think about how we can recommit ourselves to that fight.
Many of us have fallen off in the two years since the George Floyd protests galvanized the American people to look at their own complicity. Now is the time to renew that pledge.
We can all start by putting our money where our mouths are and donating $10 to these national organizations:
- The Movement for Black Lives
- In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda
- National Black Justice Coalition
Next, find three local organizations focused on justice for Black Americans and do the same. Why both? Because national organizations do the work of coordinating big campaigns with a lens towards large scale progress. Local organizations work directly within your community. They know the specific needs and demographics of your area and have a direct connection to people on the ground. By doing both, we directly help the people on the ground while simultaneously addressing the national context.
Get to know your national and local Black advocacy organizations. Learn what they are prioritizing. Follow their leads and support them.
Juneteenth reminds us that freedom does not come from the stroke of a pen. It comes from the ongoing and tireless efforts of people who refuse to give up in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. In celebrating this day, we recommit to working towards true freedom for all Black people in this country. Join us.
Happy Juneteenth Indivisibles. Let’s get to work.