Today is Juneteenth, a holiday I first learned about as a kid growing up in Mississippi with very “conscious” parents. As I was pondering the meaning of this day, two thoughts hit me. Because it took over 2 and a half years for the word to get to the slaves that the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed, it is my hope that my people, in 2009, realize that:
- We’re no longer slaves–we need purposefully to free ourselves from the shackles of all the things that we can control that we allow to hold us back. This includes modern slavery–debt/living above our means, selling ourselves short because of externally imposed ideas of what we can or should be, feeling like we’ve “made” it and missing the need for continued community activism, addictions (pick one), and the like. We’re a resilient and creative people, and we need to continue working together and helping each other to keep moving on up.
- We need to take advantage of access to information. Back in 1865, there wasn’t internet or libraries stacked with years and years of books with all sorts of things to learn and to know. One of the causes of market failure, according to economic and contract theory, is information asymmetry. Guess who’s usually on the losing end of that failure… You got it. So while we still aren’t always on an even playing field as far as information goes, we need to be proactive in our quest for knowledge. Keep up with current events; know what’s going on in your local area; if you’re interested in something, go find out what it takes to make it happen.
Now, as the day goes by, be thankful for 144 years of knowing that by law, we are free. Now, we just have to continue making sure we set our minds and souls free. Happy Juneteenth!