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Juneteenth: A Personal Reflection

By VerityCU June 18, 2021 About verity

When I was growing up on the East Coast, my family always celebrated Juneteenth by going to local community festivals. But when we moved to the Pacific Northwest, many people didn’t know about Juneteenth, and there seemed to be a lack of opportunity for my children to learn about Black history in school. So every summer, my kids had to read a book on Black history and do a report. It worked out well for us, and one time my son even corrected his teacher on facts related to Black history. I was surprised then, and still am today, at how far removed our children are from Black history.

When I think back on what happened back in 1865 and where we are now, the one thing that still holds true is that there is a lack of information. There was a lack of information during the two and a half years it took for news of the Emancipation to reach Texas. And there is a lack of information now, which is evident in many people’s limited knowledge about the meaning of Juneteenth and Black history in general. The slaves lacked the information then that they were free, and many people today still lack information on how they can live differently so that we can all truly be free.

My family and I remember on Juneteenth (and every day) that we are free and we get to navigate our own path. We push limits and go places we aren’t “supposed” to go. A few years ago we visited a restaurant, and when we walked in the door it was like every sound in the restaurant was muted and ever set of eyes turned to look at us. “Mom,” my son said looking around at the complete lack of black and brown faces in the restaurant, “maybe we should go.” Oh, no. “They are here, so we are here. We get to be a part of the same world,” I told my son. So we sat down and had dinner.

Juneteenth represented freedom in 1865, and it still represents freedom today with President Biden’s signing of the Juneteenth National Freedom Day Act. You read in the post Juneteenth: A Reason for Celebration Indeed about the immediate conditions that were placed on that freedom. Today is no different. There are conditions placed on our freedom every day, and it’s up to us to remember that we are free and to push those boundaries and live free.

Happy Juneteenth, everyone! Here’s to freedom, the progress that has been made, and the work yet to be done!


Contributed by Tonita Webb, CEO of Verity Credit Union