(Photo: President Biden and Opal Lee after signing the June 17, 2021 National Independence Day bill, (Photo by Chandler West))
By Rowan Wolf
It wasn’t until June 17, 2021 that Juneteenth became a national holiday when Joe Biden signed it into law. Opal Lee was 89 years old when he walked across much of the country to raise awareness for Juneteenth. He met with then-President Obama, but he was not the one who signed the proclamation. God forbid that a black (or at least a half black) sign an acknowledgment of the final act of freeing the slaves. The news was slow to spread in Texas. Was it a last act of southern resistance? No, just one of many that are still going on to this day.
My heart aches that the Republicans have built their new party on hate while calling themselves White Christian Nationalists (Fascists). How have they gotten this far? White Democrats, progressives, and even leftists are all too willing to look the other way and dismiss the depth of racism and misogyny before them. Because? Because it’s deeply embedded in this culture and shared too much across political and ideological boundaries. Like the Republicans of old, they don’t know where to draw the line between acceptable differences and intolerable hatred. That would require looking at the racism and misogyny in our own hearts.
A couple of ounces of honesty and several more of bravery from all of us would go a long way toward setting us on a better path as a country.
So my thanks to Opal Lee, Juneteenth’s grandmother, and to all those who have fought for the last century to bring this critical part of history into our hands.
So let your heart sing and weep with this hymn by John Legend.
Glory by Rapper, Common and John Legend
PS I also recommend reading The Cost and Significance of the Civil War, Encyclopedia Britannica. Nice review of history which I never learned much about when I was in school.
Tags: Juneteenth, Opal Lee, bondage
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