Juneteenth

I wanted to write a poem. I wanted to write a quick little list poem about Juneteenth. I wanted to talk about how a friend wanted to do a celebration here at work for Juneteenth. I wanted to talk about how we don’t ever talk about it. I wanted to talk about freedom and emancipation. I wanted to write it over the weekend so that it would be ready to post Monday.
Then
There was another acquittal.
Then
There was another shooting.

Then I couldn’t write

I could not write a poem about FREEDOM
Not about FREEDOM…
Not today.

I want to talk about black folks.
I want to talk too black folks.
I want to sit with black folks.
Only Black folks
I want to talk!!!
I need to talk!!
We need to talk!

I am positive I will never experience freedom
Not on this planet
Not in this cycle of my life

I have accepted that.

It is not a mistake, that when picking a soccer team on his tablet
My son complains there are not enough black player on the teams.
He is visibly excited and cheers when he is able to get a new black player
I asked him – why does it matter if you only have 1 black player on your team?. It’s just a game.

He then explains his 8 yrs old feelings

“Well it just seems like everything is white, like everything and everyone is white and that is just not true. It also seems like everything is way harder for black people so I get excited when the black player get enough points to be starters, then I can pick them. I just like playing with more black players because, I am black. I don’t know I just like seeing Black people win…. Even if just a video game.”


At this moment I was proud
I did not correct him.
I did not tell him its all one love and we are one.
I did not tell him to be color blind.


I said:

“See that’s what’s up! I love seeing black folks win too! Most of the time we all we got. It is harder on this planet being black, it is. BUT it don’t mean that you gonna be a bum or nothing good will happen for you, it just means you may have to work harder and not be lazy. You have to be able to stay focused on your goals... most people are not gonna expect the best from us, so we prove them wrong”

At some point I thought maybe I shouldn’t tell my kids about this kinda stuff. Maybe I am making them angry for no reason, maybe by the time they are teens the world would be safe and open season on black folks would be over.

At this point,
I know my children are Black.
My children know they are Black.
My children know that all human kind started from Africa
My children know that Africa is the origin
My children know they are African

This Juneteenth, I will teach my children what I know.
1. Slavery ended in 1863 but not in the south
a. Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, which became federal law on January 1, 1863. With the Emancipation Proclamation all slaves in rebel states were declared free, and any of the Confederate States denying this new freedom to its black citizens were considered to be in rebellion with the Union.

2. War started because the folks on the south wanted to keep their slaves
a. Civil War was declared over on May 9, 1865, many Texans did not know because of their geographical isolation.
b. On June 18, General Granger arrived at Galveston Island, Texas with 2,000 Union troops

3. June 19th a day after the troops got to TX, “General Order No. 3” was issued
a. The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, “all slaves are free.” This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes, and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts, and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.


#HappyJuneteeth

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