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This Juneteenth is a call to remember: None of us are free until all of us are free

What exactly is Juneteenth?? it's important we all understand what today really means.

It's an important date in the emancipation of slavery, although not THE date slavery was abolished.

On June 19th, 1865, Union Troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, bringing with them the news that more than 250 000 enslaved Black persons in the state were legally free.

So how does this affect us in Canada, well over a hundred years later?

Why is it so important to recognize and remember?

How is it impacting the work we're doing today?

Juneteenth is important because it helps us remember that collective liberation is critical, since none of us are free until all of us are free

Today is really a day about recognition: it's not the actual date the bill was passed-

(that happened in January 1865 with a vote of 119-56- Texas just didn't receive the news until 6 months later)

We use today to recognize that it doesn't really matter what the letter of the law states,

What actually matters is what is

👍🏾 commonly practiced

👍🏾 commonly accepted

👍🏾 commonly upheld

And the truth is today there are still plenty of commonly practiced, accepted and upheld ways people are systemically oppressed, discriminated against, and harmed for just being who they are.

👏🏾 None 👏🏾of 👏🏾Us 👏🏾Are 👏🏾Free 👏🏾Until 👏🏾All 👏🏾of 👏🏾Us 👏🏾Are 👏🏾Free 👏🏾

Juneteenth is a critical reminder that TODAY, in 2024, 159 years later, no matter who we are or where we come from, none of us are yet free.

Because while the western world celebrates the meaning of Juneteenth as part of the emancipation of slavery,

🎉 Celebrations unfortunately serve to distract from the fact that abolishment of slavery didn't actually dismantle the systems of oppression,

🎉 Celebrations give us the false sense that the hard work is already done

🎉 Celebrations make it harder to face the truth:

The truth that these systems still stand strong today

and there is still so much work to do.

Which makes Juneteenth the perfect time to talk about the work we're all doing to dismantle these systems.

It's great that these causes are getting more positive attention in 2024

🏳️‍🌈 Pride,

✊🏾 Juneteenth,

🪶 National Indigenous History Month

...but in practice, most of the attention is little more than glorification.

👀 We see the world attending parties and celebrations,

👀 We see plenty of social media posts and trendy changes to profile pictures

👀 We see corporations releasing statements and using hashtags

But what about the work?

What is actually happening on the ground when it comes to real life advocacy?

Because we're also seeing

the removal of DEI programs,

legislation passing against the 2SLGBTQIA+ community

Indigenous patients leaving emergency rooms without care due to racism and discrimination being perpetrated against them as they seek medical care

Earlier this month we hosted our very first Pride Gala

The UPlift Black Bashment Kiki Ball Gathering was more than just a celebration:

It was important because it highlighted the importance of intersectionality

👋🏾 We are Black 365

👋🏾 We are Queer 365

👋🏾 We are Trans 365

👋🏾 We are AfroIndigenous 365

Our organization is rooted in so many intersecting identities,

Identities that deserve to be celebrated,

But that also need protecting.

It's vital we continue having conversations about what work we're doing

More than just parties, flags and social media posts

So today on Juneteenth we ask:

What are you doing in your friends circles, families, workplaces and communities to dismantle these harmful oppressive systems??

UPLift Learning offers educational programming on Safer Space and AntiBlack Racism Training to workplaces, community groups, corporations, school boards and more.

Let's talk about the ways we can work together to dismantle these systems, so that someday we can truly celebrate, someday when...

...WE CAN ALL BE FREE ✊🏾✊🏼✊🏿 🏳️‍🌈

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