Rise Up Against Injustice!
By Debra Schrishuhn for Mike H, Judy, Mike F, Donna, Dan, Janis, Dr. Bill, Kim, and Bryan—your PDA National Team
Today is JUNETEENTH EMANCIPATION DAY, celebrated in towns and cities across America this week as African Americans remember General Orders, No. 3 (2 years and 5 months after the Emancipation Proclamation), issued by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger at Galveston, Texas, in 1865, proclaiming that “The people of Texas are informed that … all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves….”
One year later, African Americans in Texas began a grassroots movement to observe Juneteenth on or around June 19, marking it as a day of black liberation and celebration. Historian Elizabeth Hayes Turner describes these early Juneteenth celebrations as “a potent life-giving event… a joyful retort to messages of overt racism … a public counter-demonstration to displays of Confederate glorification and a counter-memory to the valorization of the Lost Cause.”
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Fast-forward to 1968. Following Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination on April 4, his Poor People’s Campaign fell short of its goals, and so was ended on June 19, 102 years after the first Juneteenth Emancipation Day celebration.
Now fast forward to 2018. Dedicated activists have revived the Poor People’s Campaign with marches and civil disobedience to fight poverty and the systemic racism that still plague our country.
Eyes are on Texas again this week as immigrant children are separated from their parents at the border—part of the Trump administration’s so-called zero-tolerance enforcement against illegal immigration … except that children are being taken from asylum seekers, too, and there are documented cases of legal residents being caught up in this monstrous policy. Children are being warehoused in tents in the Texas heat, allowed to exit the tents once daily for recreation/exercise time, and isolated from their parents and siblings. Click here to Tell Congress to Abolish ICE.
We must all, individually and collectively, fight the scourge of systemic authoritarianism and structural racism in all of its insidious forms. JUNETEENTH EMANCIPATION DAY reminds us of the triumph of joy over tragedy, of freedom over oppression, of determination and activism over despair, and we take this opportunity to rededicate ourselves toward goals of “liberty and justice for all.”
For a more progressive future,
Debra Schrishuhn for Mike H, Judy, Mike F, Donna, Dan, Janis, Dr. Bill, Kim, and Bryan—your PDA National Team
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