As a American who is called Black only because of a social construct called “race” that was created to oppress humans who have melanin in their skin, I come to you today to invite you to have a very timely #CourageousConversation. Many surely will see the videos and ask me, “Toy, have you always celebrated Juneteenth?” My answer is actually, “No”. Did I always know about Juenteenth? No, but I knew about it a lot sooner than many of my friends and family. I did teach my history students about it decades ago, but school was always out by the time it rolled around so I wasn’t able to truly incorporate it into any curricular instruction in terms of lesson planning. Still today, I’m not going to push it on anyone, but if you’re willing to learn more to understand why many of us are acknowledging it and why we feel a deeply-rooted moral and social responsibility to educate as many within our sphere of influence–this article is for you, my friend.

This article is my contribution to bring light to a holiday that has been going on for decades but just not acknowledged nationally by the very country that daily supports systems that ignore the value of our very lives and expect us to only partially thrive in it. Yet generation after generation, by the grace of God, we do that which was never originally intended for us and greater works!

“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”

– Abraham Lincoln

“On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln gave a speech that would be quoted for centuries to come. But what do you really know about the Gettysburg Address? Check out some things you may not know about the iconic speech.

  • Lincoln’s address starts with “Four score and seven years ago.” A score is equal to 20 years, so he was referencing 87 years ago — 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed. The speech was made, then, seven score and seven years ago.
  • On the day of the speech, Lincoln’s oration was hardly the highlight of the occasion. Instead, the biggest speech belonged to Edward Everett, who spoke for two hours before Lincoln took the podium.
  • Everett later wrote to Lincoln about his speech, saying, “I wish that I could flatter myself that I had come as near to the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.”
  • We get our current text of the speech from the fifth of five written copies, all written in Lincoln’s handwriting. Each copy differs slightly, which probably stems from Lincoln’s self-editing.
  • The Library of Congress has two copies of the address, the Illinois State Historical Library has one, Cornell University has one and one is in the Lincoln room in the White House.”

That was a very brief but important excerpt from an article by meganfriedman in Time Magazine written back on November 19, 2010. Let’s now put his words in proper context rather than just reciting them:

Although we do have a long way to go for systemic changes, we do now have the unique opportunity RIGHT NOW, to give birth through these severe labor pains happening world wide to deliver (birth) a new nation truly conceived in liberty (through the truth, which sets us all free), and dedicated to the proposition that ALL MEN and WOMEN (ALL HUMANS) are created equal.

The new civil war that we are in during this pandemic is a test and opportunity of a lifetime. It all begins and ends with each of us. Are you willing to learn the truth, accept it, face our nation and rebuild it from the infrastructure and systems outward?

The rest of the world is demanding the change along with us this time, but the question is : America — land of the “FREE” and home of the “BRAVE”– are you truly brave enough to let ALL HUMANS LIVE EQUALLY? It’s going to take more than giving us today as a national holiday. It’s going to take more than companies giving employees time off today. It’s going to take more than taking Aunt Jemima off the shelves. Rewrite the history books you have rewritten to give true accounts of who we are and our contributions to this world. Reconstruct legislation that was created to systemically oppress us. Get rid of the word “race” and replace it with human. Yes no more applications. Education for ALL. Access to ALL. God is moving fast. He is forcing your hand America. He has given you so many times to repent and step away from your wicked ways. The truth can no longer be hidden. The whole world knows and is watching this time. Time will once again reveal the nature of the heart of all leaders at all levels. History as we know it is a series of decisions. What side of history will you be on when the new books are written? America, justice is calling and will not stop until you answer.

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Abraham Lincoln

May the only nation that rises out of this dispensation be a real one that is truly of ALL people, by ALL people and for ALL people — including humans with any shade of melanin in our skin. We have a great work that lies ahead. With God, all things are possible. I boldly declare that true Christians /(insert your religion if it differs here), truly want to see changes and will do their part to care enough to make it happen! May those born during this time have a greater story of a new America to tell their children for generations to come in perpetuity.

On that note: Happy Juneteenth and blessings to all! It is time for us all to grow from the discomfort which is where we are as a nation. Education is truly the pathway to freedom for everyone!

Origin

mid 16th century: from Latin educatio(n- ), from the verb educare (see educate).

I challenge each of you to share this article and help care enough to bring awareness to the systemic dehumanization of our people.

You can show your support of Toy’s powerful and innovative work as she continues to make a positive impact daily around the world!

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