Juneteenth commemorates the day when the last enslaved Black people in Texas were finally granted freedom according to law. Although slavery legally ended, uninhibited freedom still has not become a reality for all Black people in the United States. Our ancestors were taunted and lynched profusely by white supremacist individuals and organizations like the KKK during the Reconstruction era. Then Jim Crow laws turned Black people into second-class citizens through enforced racial segregation until 1965 with the passing of the Voting Rights Act. And today, we are experiencing police brutality, redlining, voter suppression, and mass incarceration simultaneously.
Our history is rife with injustice and we’ve got a ways to go before all Black people are free from systemic racism. But now more than ever, I encourage you to honor and celebrate the legacy of Black resilience and freedom by making sure you and your community members are registered to vote.
I cannot promise that voting will immediately solve inequities Black people experience every day in this country. But it is one of the best ways we can use our voices to elect leaders that are accountable to Black communities and understand that we need change now.
We are our ancestors’ wildest dreams. Let’s take that dream even further and envision a world where all Black lives not only matter, but are cherished and protected equally.