Commemorating Juneteenth and The Fight for Freedom

Commemorating Juneteenth and The Fight for Freedom
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Published by Joanna | SCOJO New York on Jun 18th 2021

At SCOJO New York, we craft premium eyewear because vision is important—but it doesn’t take perfect 20/20 vision to see that not everyone, unfortunately, gets to live the same experience.

Today is Juneteenth: the anniversary of the June 19, 1865 announcement of General Order No. 3, which transmitted the news of the Emancipation Proclamation to Texas and freed all remaining enslaved people in the state. The announcement came over a month after the formal end of the Civil War, and two whole years after the original issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation.

As is the case for many social justice issues, changing the law was only the first step towards true liberation. Though the letter of the law proclaimed all humans as equal, there remained—and remains still—a long road ahead to achieve a world fair for all.

One way to disable injustice and prejudice is to commit to self-education and self-improvement, and to continue to uplift and celebrate racialized, marginalized, equity-seeking groups. Commemorating Juneteenth is just one step. We encourage our friends, customers, partners and community to continue to tackle the difficult and necessary work of improvement.

Listen, learn, amplify Black voices. When it comes to education around issues of racial disparity, it is important for privileged populations to de-center their experiences and instead listen to the voices of those with lived experience. Taking the time to absorb the learnings from Black-led sources and to amplify the message ensures that this important knowledge is a far-reaching as possible.

Support organizations that support racial justice. Donating to or volunteering with organizations dedicated to bridging the gap and advancing the cause of equity-seeking communities. Consider the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, the Color of Change, or the NAACP Legal Defense Fund for donations. Local organizations might be able to suggest volunteer opportunities, if donating isn’t within your budget.

Call out problematic behavior. Microaggressions are subtle, and because they are so subtle they can often be seen as 'not a big deal'. But they are still harmful, and as allies it’s important that we lend our support through action. Identifying when a microaggression has occurred, calling out instances of troubling language or engaging loved ones in difficult topics of conversation are all ways to continue to do the work and support the cause of racial equity.

Witness the joy and success of the Black community. The Black community is defined by more than suffering and struggle. Joy and ease are important parts of the Black experience. Show your support by celebrating the achievements of Black educators, activists, scientists, writers, artists, and, of course, of friends and family.

Continue to self-educate. There are ample resources available on the history of racial injustice in the U.S., in Canada, globally. Remember also that the stories of Black people did not and should not always start with slavery; the rich history of the African diaspora is to Black history as the British Empire is to American history.

We hope that these suggestions help inspire you in your labor towards a more just world. At SCOJO New York, where we believe in the unique beauty of each individual, our firm belief is that only when all people are truly equal can we all be free.