On Monday, the nation will celebrate it’s newest national holiday, Juneteenth. As a federal employee, I’m grateful for the three-day weekend. As a person who has always celebrated Juneteenth, I’m a little conflicted.
Companies have started to capitalize on the holiday. We know about the missteps of Walmart and their Juneteenth-inspired ice cream flavor. I’ve seen shirts at mass retailers. A friend said she saw Juneteenth merchandise at the Dollar Tree.
I’m going to be honest. I don’t know the correct way to celebrate the holiday. But I feel like targeting a population whose ancestors were considered property isn’t the best way.
I’d love to see these companies invest in HBCUs, or even highlight the merchandise of black-owned businesses. I’d love to see initiatives to support their minority employees.
Juneteenth reminds me of the Israelite celebration of Jubilee. Every fifty years, the Israelites were commanded to let the land rest, to let slaves go free, and to release everyone from debt.
Do you see the issue? Every fifty years, there would be more people in debt and more people enslaved. It was a vicious cycle.
My dream for Juneteenth is that we would put forth efforts to break the cycles of debt and poverty. I don’t know what that looks like in America today. I’m not sure what it even looks like in my own household. But I know it starts with a prayer.
So that’s my prayer for today. “Lord, help me to break the cycles of debt, depression, and poverty. Help me to live free. For Whom the Son sets free is free indeed. That includes me!”