Friday, June 19, 2020

President, DC Metro HBCU Alumni Alliance, Inc.: Juneteenth. Recognize.

Dear Friends,
I trust that you will join me today in celebrating the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, our holiday that generations of our people have celebrated to commemorate the last of our enslaved people being declared free.  
I am surprised at the number of people who, until this year, were unaware of the significance of this day. And now, because of the recent events of police brutality and the protests that followed, we are in a moment where America is really being confronted with its history.  And this is a good thing as there are many barriers remaining that continue to impede progress towards true justice and equality for all.  But, as Dr. Martin Luther King said, "If the cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail.”
We know there is much work remaining, and I encourage you to join me in the work and give voice to our demands that our country acknowledge and address our ongoing concerns with the consequences of the enslavement of our ancestors. To date, 47 states and the District of Columbia recognize Juneteenth as an official state holiday. Let’s add our voices to those proposing that Juneteenth be declared a national holiday.
I also believe that our schools have failed our students by not teaching them the true history of African Americans in this country.  Our HBCU’s must assume some responsibility for that, and as graduates of those HBCU’s we must also be willing to take up the mantle of responsibility in rectifying this and ensuring that accurate and thorough history of our people in this country be passed onto future generations. 
As the familiar saying goes, “The failure to study history will doom us to repeat the errors of the past.” Therefore, I challenge you to remember the past and the cost our people have paid for freedom, a freedom not yet fully realized, and join the struggle to end systemic racism and fight for racial justice. I cannot think of a better way to honor our ancestors and celebrate Juneteenth.
In addition to celebrating, I encourage you to take some personal time today to reflect on the meaning of this holiday.  Tune in to some of the many virtual events online; read about our history, including Juneteenth; watch a movie that tells our story; and, most importantly talk with and teach our story to your children and grandchildren.
Happy Juneteenth!

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