On June 19, a group of friends and I congregated in the Westward and Carver Benevolence Club. We reflected on the significance of Juneteenth and what it meant to us in our formative years and what it means today.
Many of us were raised in different parts of the country and in different states, but we all have similar memories of that day. What we remembered most was the “fun” that was afforded us as we celebrated the fact that June 19 represented “freedom” for all of us.
After decades, on June 19, 2019, Congress held hearings on reparations for descendants of slaves. The Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, stated that reparations aren’t a good idea because we elected an African American president. Does McConnell think that people in this country who pay attention to political issues have forgotten that during the African-American president’s inauguration, he held a meeting with his followers to pledge to do everything in their power to make certain that the African-American president would only serve as a one-term president?
The rest is history, and we haven’t forgotten. Mitch McConnell’s remark wasn’t rebuffed by a single Republican. I want to ask: “What’s up with that?”
Since that time, from the mouth of the serving president, political observers have heard that five innocent minority men, known as the Central Park Five, who as teenagers were wrongfully convicted and served time for a horrible crime that they didn’t commit, and who subsequently were found innocent and released from prison should be put to death for the “non-committed crime,” anyway. Thank God that we can now call them the “Exonerated Five.”
We’ve also heard him use racial slurs when referring to an African American NFL player, and we witnessed his administration walk back the endorsed plan from the African American president to engrave the $20 bill with the image of Harriet Tubman.
With actions like these from America’s leaders, my sainted grandmother would say, “Whatever is in the well will come up in the bucket.” Quoting from the Bible, she would say: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew, 6:21.
My father and his brothers, of whom there were four, worked hard in order to care for their families. In The Settlement, work ethics were passed down through generations. Galveston County is what it is today because of the labor of African Americans who worked and paid their fair share for everything they received. My great-great-grandfather was a freed slave, who served in the Union Army in 1867, and worked as a blacksmith in this state.
In addition to hard work, we were taught to serve God. That’s the reason that my generation isn’t deceived by the actions of our politicians. We know who the True God is and will never bow down to McConnell or Trump. We will stand firm, pray, and vote.