Last year, Juneteenth came to Berlin, Germany.
On June 19, about 100 people gathered in Bethanien, a former hospital in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district that has been a center for artists and a platform for contemporary art since the 1970s, a memorial to African American slaves. liberation. Given Bethanien’s long history as the center of progressive politics, it is a suitable place for people to celebrate the liberation of black Americans.
Organized by an African-American woman living in Berlin, the one-day celebration includes people singing hymns, reading poems, and even performing cross-dressing. Although our bodies tremble with the cold weather and the pours of rain all day long, our spirits are warmed by the pouring of love.
I am ashamed to admit, but this is the first June festival celebration I have participated in. I had never participated in such an event before moving to Berlin from the United States. Although this guilt is not only something I can bear.
I grew up in Florida and didn’t know Juneteenth in school. I also did not fully understand the history of slavery as I hoped. Most of my knowledge of black American history was learned outside the school system. I am naturally curious and have felt the pressure of being a black American woman, so with the help and guidance of the black librarians and elders in the nearby library, I conducted a radical anti-racism education on myself. I know as much as possible about slavery, racism, and the black resistance movement. I learned about the Haitian Revolution and how my ancestors fought against chattel slavery and French custody. I learned about Bayard Rustin, an African-American gay man who was committed to affirming the existence of homosexuality in the civil rights movement and shaping Martin Luther King’s radicalism. However, I don’t know much about June Festival and its importance.
Juneteenth is a mixed day of June and 19, commemorating the abolition of slavery by the United States under the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Galveston, Sas, announced late.
June Festival is also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee and Liberation Day, and has been celebrated every year for more than a century. Many African-Americans, especially Texans, have long commemorated this day by organizing rallies, parades and picnics, reading, reciting poems, and simply rejoicing for their liberation. African-American professor Brittney Cooper recently wrote about her early vacation experience in an article called Is Juneteenth for Everyone. She wrote: “For me, June has always been a fact in life, something I commemorate before I knew I was doing it.” The random parade that takes me to the local HBCU campus in summer always happens on weekends in June.”
Texas officially designated June as a holiday in 1980, and other 46 states and the District of Columbia followed suit. But in many states, such as my hometown of Florida, the June Festival has only recently attracted widespread attention.
On May 25, 2020, the police brutally killed the unarmed African-American George Floyd (George Floyd), which triggered a widespread wave of protests and racial reconciliation in the United States. This has caused the June Festival to become the focus of national attention and has led to more and more requests for it to be a federal holiday. Earlier this week, President Joe Biden listened to these calls and signed a law making June 19 a national holiday.
Of course, the racial reconciliation of the past year has not only resulted in the June Festival gaining widespread attention and becoming a federal holiday. It also led many scholars and activists to discuss how the United States teaches and understands history.
People began to loudly demand an end to the whitewashing of American history and the casual celebration of the country’s racists. Statues of slaves, segregationists and colonialists have been removed. Recently, the U.S. Geographical Names Council voted to remove the term “black” from approximately 20 geographic sites in Texas. These names are not only very inappropriate and offensive to blacks, but they also prove that racism still exists in Texas and the wider American landscape.
Since the death of Freud and the rise of the “Black people’s fate” movement, people have increasingly called for people to see, discuss and respect the entire history of black Americans. Activists not only demand that the entire country recognize the legacy of slavery and the psychological, material, and physical harm that systemic racism still causes to black Americans, but also hope that the country will be responsible for the systematic deprivation of black Americans since 1619 The enslaved Africans arrived in the Virginia colony.
In fact, if we look at Texas, we will find that the state’s black history is by no means confined to slavery. For example, Alesia Anderson, a human resources worker born in Lockhart, Texas, can trace her paternal line back to the colony of St. John’s, a community established by freed slaves in the early 1870s. “It didn’t get as rich as the black Wall Street, but many of us are still proud of that area,” she told me.
Black people have always been an integral part of Texas history. Enslaved blacks not only established their country by cutting down forests, harvesting crops, and building houses, but they also remained an important part of social, political, economic, and artistic life after liberation.Although black Americans face numerous obstacles, they should be fortunate to build, create, and persevere.
Today, we are at a critical turning point in the United States. The demands for racial equality and justice are increasing every day. However, the road to true racial justice is still fraught with obstacles. Only by examining and truly understanding history can we create a better future for everyone.
As Annette Gordon-Reed wrote in her book “June 19th”, “History is about people and events in a specific context and context, and how these things follow Changes occur over time, making the past different from the times we live in, and understand that these changes are not inevitable.”
If we look at history soberly and leave behind the prejudices that systemic racism has branded in our hearts, we can clearly see what steps we need to take to achieve true equality and racial reconciliation in the United States-compensation, The oppressed are restored to their original state.
The June festival alone will not improve racial inequality in the United States. Nonetheless, this holiday provides Americans with an opportunity to examine history from the perspective of the oppressed (not the oppressed), celebrate the achievements of black Americans, and acknowledge the suffering of black Americans.
Too little work has been done to correct slavery and the systemic racist damage that has been done to black Americans over the centuries. For how blacks thrive under such a cruel system, people have done even less. This is why June Festival, a holiday celebrating liberation, is not only important but also necessary.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.