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Updated: Feb 10, 2022

One of the most significant holidays celebrated in our country is independence Day. Americans are proud to show their patriotism. They come out proud in their red, white, and blue. Walmart, Target, and other big-name corporations advertise for you to get out the grill BBQ; spend money, and celebrate. Picnics and shopping are the norms. Why because we were brainwashed for many years to make this day spectacular?

Let's go back and review our history. Back in 1776, four men sat down and wrote the Declaration of independence. The Declaration of independence is an American document to celebrate our country's freedom from Britain. What better way to commemorate this event with new rules and what seems to be a fresh start for all Americans. One of the most significant parts of the declaration; is that "all men are created equal." How can all men be equal when slavery exists. African Americans fought on the battlefield. They contribute to the victory but fell short of a celebration. While many people were happy and hopeful, there were another group of people who couldn't understand. How could they celebrate a country that turned its back on them? A country that used them as guineas pigs because they believe there were inhuman. When the declaration of independence was signed; African Americans were still enslaved, beaten, tortured, killed, and raped. They were not considered human and subject to cruel experiments. Celebrating Independence Day is a slap in the face.

In 1776 we signed the Declaration, but for it to hold its utility, "all men are created equal " we needed something else. In 1863 The Emancipation Proclamation was born. It took a while for this document to go into effect. African Americans; didn't get the memo. They didn't know they were free. Slaves were all freed on June 19, 1865. That's when slavery officially ended. It felt like a win. But in actuality, it wasn't. To hold African Americans down new laws/ tactics were implemented. These tactics/ laws were Jim crow laws and a judicial system; that is still failing today.

When I was in school, I never heard of Juneteenth. I found out about Juneteenth by watching Blackish. Just like slavery, America wants you to forget that it happens; but we can't forget. Juneteenth is celebrated and acknowledged more, thanks to social media. African Americans are claiming Juneteenth and rejecting Independence Day. I am happy to see more African Americans are embracing their culture. No longer ashamed of who they are. We are trendsetters from our hair, our clothes, our physical features; we are dope! Forget what society and the media have been trying to tell you. It's our time to step up and not let society dictate what is acceptable and customary. Don't hide who you are and the struggles that came along the way. The Struggle we endure made us strong and resilient.

This Juneteenth I had the pleasure spent solemnized with family and friends. It was a big celebration of who we are. We had a big BBQ, listened to old-school music and played games. Some of my friends had their family members wearing matching Juneteenth shirts. We partied hard. I enjoyed myself. What melted my heart was when I saw other families celebrating. We took over the park. It was peaceful. Next year will be the first year Juneteenth is recognized; as a national holiday. I planned on celebrating bigger and better, making this a family and friends tradition. From June 16 to July 9, I will buy and support only black-owned. I regularly shop black-owned. Those days I will be consciously aware of where my money goes. My money will be going back into my culture.

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