The Senate just passed a Bill that commemorates Juneteenth as a national holiday. As a federal employee, I’m excited about possibly having an extra day off. As a Black person who grew up celebrating Juneteenth every year, I’m wondering what a National celebration might look like.
Some people are calling the new holiday Freedom Day, as it commemorates the day that enslaved people in Texas finally got the news that they were free… two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Can you imagine being free legally, but physically still in bondage? I can. I’m a Christian. I believe our freedom was bought with a price, and yet there are still those of us, bound in our sins. There are days, when even I feel like I’m tied up, by tradition, by other people’s expectations of me, and even by expectations I have set for myself.
But my Bible says whom the Son sets free is free indeed. Freedom feels different when you know what bondage feels like. I think of Kelvin Strickland sitting in a Missouri prison for a crime not even prosecutors believe he committed. The people who actually committed the crime for which he was convicted, have served their time and been released. They admitted that Mr. Strickland had nothing to do with the case… and yet this man remains in prison. The Missouri Supreme Court and the governor have ignored the public outcry. Imagine what Freedom will finally feel like for Mr. Strickland?
As Juneteenth approaches, remember that your freedom was paid for with the ultimate sacrifice. Remember that there are people who should be free, but for whatever reason, cannot access their freedom. Let’s fight for those people. We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes!