When the Celebrations Are Over

Tonikiaa Orange
Culture & Equity Project Blog

Celebration and joy flooded my email and Facebook once Juneteenth was announced a federal holiday. Colleagues were thrilled, and showed their solidarity with this historic event by posting pictures and sharing the news on their social media platforms. Honestly, I met the news with shrugged shoulders that signaled a nonchalant, oh, ok, that’s good. Yes, I am happy that Juneteenth is recognized as a Federal Holiday, but to be elated over this surface gesture hides the unfulfilled promises and commitments to Black people that continue to get buried every time we are thrown a bone. This will come to pass in the larger society, while Black bodies, thoughts and minds continue to be pushed aside and asked to “be patient and celebrate the wins.” So, Yes, this is a celebration, but it does not move the needle on centering our needs as a community.