Here's how we're celebrating.
Tomorrow is Juneteenth, which marks and celebrates the 156th anniversary of General Order No. 3, issued by Union General Gordon Granger on June 19th, 1865, which legally emancipated enslaved people in Texas and officially abolished the legal institution of human chattel slavery in the United States of America.
There is a great deal to say about this holiday and its enormous significance to our country, our state and all of its peoples. It’s a day to celebrate, but also to remember and soberly reflect. If you can, consider attending a Juneteenth celebration in your community. There are big ones planned in Charlotte, Raleigh and most everywhere else. Check them out, and bring the kids! They’re a lot of fun.
Here in the real world, nothing exists without its historical context. It’s impossible to understand the United States, or certainly North Carolina, without also deeply grasping the significance of slavery and its long-enduring legacy effects on all of us - Black, white and everyone else. Some are simply tired of hearing about all of this, and you see that attitude in the nascent battles over issues like “critical race theory,” the 1619 Project and Nikole Hannah-Jones’ tenure offer at UNC.
Yet while we lose many of these specific battles because of political misrepresentation inflicted by right-wing white reactionaries, we are winning the broader struggle. Younger generations are increasingly accepting of racial justice, and open to understanding how the legacies of racial oppression touch all of our lives today, albeit very unequally. This cause sometimes makes for tricky politics, as we all saw last year. But the cause of racial justice is worth it, and effective, in the long-term.
Here are two more things you can do to help us observe Juneteenth.
First - we encourage all of our supporters to check out Emancipate NC.
Emancipate NC is a Black-led civil rights organization based in Durham that focuses on bail reform, restorative justice and deconstructing systemic racism in North Carolina. They are excellent as an organization and do great work. Many of our team are supporters ourselves. If you are looking for a great, North Carolina-based organization focused on racial justice to support outside of electoral politics, we strongly recommend them.
Second - educate yourself and those around you on the legacy of racial oppression.
Here are some great resources to get you started, including several with North Carolina ties:
The 1619 Project (Nikole Hannah-Jones) 👈🏻 obviously a must-read in NC
Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy (David Zucchino) 👈🏻 just won the Pulitzer Prize!
Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents (Isabel Wilkerson)
Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America (Ibram X. Kendi)
However you observe Juneteenth, make it a part of your day and your year. This holiday marks a sobering history, but remember - Juneteenth is fundamentally a celebration. It lifts up the cause of liberation and freedom, which all of us can honor and partake in.
Have a wonderful Juneteenth. Do not get too discouraged or cynical by setbacks along the way. We will win this fight - together.
The Team at Carolina Forward