So, what did I do today? Juneteenth? The latest federal holiday since Dr. King's birthday?
I went to work.
I'm not a federal employee. So I don't get the day off. As of yet, Juneteenth is not one of those holidays where I get holiday pay. I'm normally scheduled to work on Saturdays, so I'm at work. I'm guessing there's black folks who broke out the grill and got a cookout going. As if black folks need an excuse to do a cookout. I don't do cookouts. I don't own a grill. I can cook up sliders, hot dogs and I'm serviceable at ribs. But I'd rather let others do the work. And the last time I was invited to a cookout was a couple weeks ago when Bob Marshman and Mary Lee Marshman invited me over. But even if I was off today, I probably wouldn't do anything special for Juneteenth. It's a significant day in the black community.
It puts closed to an insidious and evil part of American history. A part that has not been fully taught, and a part that we are still feeling the lasting effects of 156 years later. There are still injuries, old wounds that won't heal. We have to try and get past them. But we can't just let the past slip away. We disrespect those who spilt their blood to pay for our freedom. Black folks walk a tightrope. We must remember what we've been through and use it as a driving force to move ahead. But we can't let slavery's chains hobble us and keep us obsessed with the past at the expense of the future. Respect the past. Honor the past. Teach it to our children. Make sure the past stays in the past and that the lessons of the past are learnt so they don't get repeated again. All we have is the present, and the future.
We need to make the future great for our children and our grand-children. I don't have kids. Don't want kids. But the kids are our future. They need to learn from the past. But not be stuck in it. They need to be educated. But we can't trust the schools to teach them the good, the bad and the ugly. History, unfortunately, is written by the victors. And we all know that the victors aren't going to write what makes them look bad. We need to learn the whole story, so we can teach it to future generations. But the elders who faced this history up close and personal are leaving us. Who will take their place as the caretakers?