I couldn’t help it. I literally laughed out loud this week when I read in the Washington Post that Donald Trump had announced:
“I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous,” Trump told [Wall Street Journal journalist Michael] Bender. “It’s actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it.”
(It’s worth reading the entire (short) article at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/06/18/now-that-he-knows-it-exists-trump-claims-he-made-juneteenth-very-famous/)
Could the man actually believe that? Is his ego truly that gargantuan and/or his ignorance that profound? Is it just a lie to support his political ambitions? Has he lost the ability to discern truth from falsehoods?
Anyway, just to let the President know, I’ve celebrated this holiday for years. I know I’m not African American, but I’m not Asian American either and I celebrate Chinese New Year, and I’m not Mexican American and I celebrate Cinco de Mayo. I basically celebrate everything I can because I want to honor all traditions and all heritages and all faiths and I think celebrating by having a special meal from that tradition is a fun way to do that.
This year, however, with all the racial tension and the need to look at white privilege and such, I wasn’t sure what to do. Ultimately, I figured it was another way to show solidarity with a greater appreciation of the Black culture. However, I did more research this year to make sure I was making something that was an authentic dish for this celebration.
Traditionally, people have red foods and drinks for this holiday; I’ve read several different rationales, but let’s go with red is the color of revolution (since that’s what things feel like right now). So tonight, we are having red beans and rice and green beans for dinner. However, I’m trying a different recipe that appeared to be from an authentic black source. It includes using smoked ham hocks, which I’m pretty sure I’ve never cooked with before. So far it is smelling and looking really good, so I think this may be an improvement on the way I’ve always fixed red beans and rice before. If so, what a gift! Although I have to admit it makes me feel like Karen in one of my all-time favorite Saturday Night Live bits:
But if we can’t laugh at ourselves, who can we laugh at?
Still, this year that doesn’t feel like enough. So I want to give everyone a Juneteenth gift. It is a book written by people who have much better ideas than I do for ways that we can support the current movement to secure the equal status in our society that people of color deserve.
It is called 30 Ways you can educate yourself, stand in solidarity with your BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) friends, fight racism, and build a better world (especially if you are white). If I’ve done it right, it should be available for a FREE download by clicking below (but don’t click until you finish reading the post, because it takes you from the blog to the book).
I deserve no credit for this book, and I don’t know exactly who does. I got it from a class I did with https://www.tinybookcourse.com, which asked that we pass it on. I can say that it is a quick overview of different ways to support the movement going on right now, which a few, targeted links to people or organizations that deserve support. I have followed a few of their suggestions and found them meaningful.
So even if you do nothing else for this holiday, I recommend you read this short ebook and see if it inspires you to take some action. It’s OK if it’s not actually on June 19th itself. It took two months for the word that the war was over and that all slaves were free to spread through the entire country. We can extend our Juneteenth activities beyond just the day itself.