Dr. King NEVER asked for integration.
He gave his life to “freedom and justice for all.” Civil Rights don’t equal integration. An institution can become integrated without EVER being “civil” or affording historically marginalized communities any rights that are substantive and immediate.
Here is what I mean when I say “substantive and immediate.”
Did you notice how quickly the Asian Hate Bill was passed? In just over ONE MONTH the bill was introduced, approved, and signed into law.
The Anti-Lynching Bill (if you don’t know what it is, look it up) was introduced in 2018 and again in 2020 but has yet to be passed.
The House approved the George Floyd Police Reform Bill–but has not been passed by both the House and the Senate. It was introduced on 6/8/20.
Juneteenth was first celebrated in 1980 when the state of Texas became the first state to recognize June 19th as a holiday.
In 2020, In the wake of the public execution of George Floyd, it was given new life as a national holiday.
It was passed by both the House and the Senate, then signed into law by President Biden on June 17, 2021.
I, we, have been protesting for the police to stop killing us since George. Yet, the bill that gets passed is for a national holiday to “celebrate” the official end of slavery TWO YEARS after Lincoln freed the slaves????
Why does that sound crazy to me?
Just as integration was positioned as “equality and justice for all,” passing a law for a national holiday looks like progress. Except it is NOT what we have been protesting for. We didn’t ask for integration any more than we asked for Juneteenth to become a federal holiday.
What “substantive and immediate” difference does a federal holiday makes for keeping police from killing Black people?
Some of my “Truth Tellers” feel like this holiday is a victory. They say it’s progress; a step in the right direction.
I don’t think so.
As far as I am concerned, Juneteenth is a joke.
A political ruse.
A social change pacifier.
It is positioned to LOOK like progress, but it doesn’t keep Black people protected or alive.
I am not going to talk long about this. Everyone has a right to celebrate what feels right for them.
I have my eyes open. And just as I am waiting to see the sentencing of George Floyd’s executioner, I reserve my celebration for the passing of the George Floyd Police Reform Bill. When THAT bill becomes a law, I will celebrate with all that I am. And I will stop my using my platforms for social change.
Until then, I wait.
And I pray…
…for equality and justice for all.
Dr. Venus Opal Reese