I’m usually a very passive person, and I avoid arguments and hard discussions unless I feel the conversation will be worth the effort. I’m someone who tries to find the joy in everything, but it’s been hard to live in our world lately. Every day I check my email and news and social media, and every day, I find myself at a loss for words, falling deeper and deeper into anger and sadness. I find myself in difficult discussions nearly every day, hoping that something will come from them, and I know so many of you have been doing the same.
Today, I’m filled with hope because those efforts are showing.
I’m absolutely ashamed to say that I had not heard about Juneteenth until just recently. It proves the point that even someone like me, someone who is a huge supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and has a wonderful diverse set of friends, has grown up in a white-bias world. I pride myself in trying to research as much as I can, but no matter how much research I do, no matter how much I try, I will never truly see the world from the eyes of another human being. I am white, and I have grown up in a white world, being spoon-fed information that is whitewashed and bias. So much Black, Native, Latino (I could go on and on) history has been scrubbed clean so people like me, a white person, cannot see the horrors that white people have brought to America. We live under the false sense of honor. We live under the false sense of compassion. I grew up believing that America was conquered victoriously, but it wasn’t until the last few years that I realized that “victory” came with daggers in the backs of good and peaceful men. I am ashamed. I am ashamed that through most of my life, I have been blind to the culture and history of other races without my knowledge. I am ashamed of our school systems, who don’t think twice about what history they choose to offer children. I am ashamed of our own tongues, speaking out against topics we have no knowledge of.
But today gave me hope. For the first time in what seems like years (January was only 6 months ago???), I’m driven to the point of tears from smiling so much.
It’s hard to see that things are changing, but they are. Oh, goodness, they are. For some, that change is hard to support. To those people, I say this: history will happen with or without you. It’s easy to read about history and note the disgusting nature of humans, but as we look around the present, we forget that that disgusting nature is still there. It is in the hearts of all people because we live in a world that flaunts and glorifies violence and hatred. It’s hard to remember at times that we witness history as it writes itself, and that in a hundred years, our great grandchildren will read about our lives and be disgusted by the actions of our society.
But, they will also see the actions of the few and the many that pushed that society to change.
I woke up today under the impression that my husband was working like every other Friday, but as I walked into the room to usher my toddler out of the office, he said there was no reason to. He had the day off! At first, I wondered if I had gotten my days mixed up (a very normal occurrence for me). I peeked at my phone. Yep, it was Friday!
Friday, June 19, my phone displayed.
Immediately, my heart sang with the brightest hope and joy it has felt in months. He was given the day off to celebrate the historic day in Black history, a day that he had not ever had off before.
June 19, 1865 was a day that celebrated freedom. It celebrated change. On the same date, 155 years later, we celebrate change again. Many people, unfortunately like myself, were not taught in school about this historic and beautiful day, but it’s through the actions of you, the actions of the vocal and courageous, that many more people can join in the celebration.
The white-bias is flaking away slowly, and the truth is coming to light. We still have a long way to go, but it is because of your voices that we, as a society, as a nation, as the world, are becoming more informed. We are demanding to see the true colors of history be displayed, and we are demanding that important historic events become commonly known.
I am so beyond proud to see this day. I am blessed to live through this change, and I cannot wait to see what other changes will happen in my lifetime due to the perseverance of passionate people.