The US commemorates the abolition of slavery amid a wave of protests against racism

Juneteenth is one of the oldest festivals in America. June 19 marks the date that the last African American slaves in Galveston, Texas knew they were free in 1865, two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

In general, black communities gather to pray, listen to stories from their ancestors, and drink strawberry juice, which symbolizes spilled blood. But this Friday the atmosphere that is breathed is not festive. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has been rampant against African-Americans, and after weeks of massive racial protests against police violence, more than 275 events are slated to take place this weekend to the cry of “black life matters.” Several companies have released their employees on Friday as a result of the date.

The Juneteenth – which in English mixes the word June with 19 – is not a national holiday, although it is recognized as such by 45 States and the District of Columbia. The death of African-American George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis has reopened the wound of racism in the United States and has served as a prelude to this commemoration, for which large protests are expected from coast to coast, including Washington and Atlanta.

Companies have also faced the date in a different way than usual. Nike, the NFL and Twitter, among others, have announced that they will give their employees a paid day off, not necessarily this Friday. In a more symbolic way, General Motors will halt its production lines in the US and be silent for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the time Floyd withstood Police Derek Chauvin’s knee nailed to his neck.

As President Donald Trump said a few days ago in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, he made the Juneteenth famous. The president announced last week that he would campaign again this Friday, with a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In addition to the criticism that came to him for resuming the massive acts in the midst of a pandemic that has caused more than 110,000 deaths in the country, where the curve is not controlled, he also received reproaches for choosing June 19 to do so.

After speaking with African-American advisers, according to the president, he decided to postpone the date to Saturday 20. “I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous,” Trump told the US newspaper. “It is actually an important event, an important moment. But no one had heard of it,” he added.

The city that the president chose for his return has also generated suspicions for the sensitive moment that the African-American community is experiencing. In 1921, Tulsa experienced one of the worst episodes of racist violence of the 20th century in the United States. A white mob attacked 35 blocks in the district known as Black Wall Street, where several black families had successful businesses, destroyed more than 1,200 homes and killed about 300 people.

This Friday, the Rev. Al Sharpton, famous for his defense of civil rights, and Tiffany Crutcher, the sister of the African American killed by the police in that city in 2016, are scheduled to offer a talk on the consequences of racial discrimination in Black Wall Street.

(Visited 20 times, 1 visits today)



We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?