Monday, June 14, 2021

Juneteenth Celebration starts today

 Cook County, Illinois launches it's first Juneteenth Celebration today, recognizing the June 19, 1865, freeing of the last slaves in Texas, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.  

During the week I encourage you to spend some time digging through the sections of my web library (using this cMap),  which focus on social justice, inequality, poverty and the history of slavery in America.  Deepen your understanding of the challenges that Black Americans have faced in the past, and continue to face in the 2020s. 

As you do, let's celebrate how far we have come.  While most people of color still face discrimination in many ways, just because of the color of their skin, many have become hugely successful, in all walks of life.  While President Obama and Vice President Harris are two highly visible examples, we can see all around us people of color who are successful in business, education and as parents raising their own kids.

I've used versions of the graphic below to show the support kids need in the non-school hours, from first grade through high school and beyond.  However, it also shows that many of the kids who were part of tutor/mentor programs that I led from 1975 to 2011 are now parents and grandparents, celebrating the success of their own children and grandchildren. I'm connected to many on Facebook and see posts regularly celebrating these successes.

While I point to the successes of students I've known, I also point to multiple other examples. For instance, below is a photo from a website titled "Because of Them, We Can". showing 2019 Black graduates of Harvard Law School.    

I've seen similar photos showing West Point graduates and graduates from HBCU (Historical Black Colleges and Universities).  In 2017-18 48,300 degrees were awarded by HBCUs. 74% (35,742) went to Black students.  That's just one year.  That's just graduates of HBCUs.  (see website). 

There are 42 million African Americans in the United States. 9.3 million (2019) are living in poverty.  That means there are many, many more who are having economic success in America.

There's much to celebrate during Juneteenth.  Let's  not overlook the progress that has been made since 1865. 

Yet, if you read the articles I point to from my cMap and web library, and follow the daily news, there's still much work to do.  

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