Until a year ago, I had only heard of Juneteenth. It's a Federal Holiday now and while it took a while to become that, the meaning of the occasion was something that I had never been taught while I was in school and to learn what it was all about, well, it's an eye opening piece of history that should give anyone pause to stop and think about what history teaches and what it doesn't. When slavery was abolished in the United States, it took over 2 years for the news to reach Texas. June 19th is when the last of the slaves were freed as the US Calvary came in and told them of their freedom. Today, it takes 2 seconds for the news to go global. Can you imagine 2 years?
Slavery is an awful fact of our nations history. It's undeniable. It cannot be "made up for" and the lingering scars in our society run deep. The idea of sweeping it under the rug or an attitude of "well, that wasn't my fault" is only an admission of blind ignorance. To work our way to a better society, at bare minimum acknowledgement of our unique paths to today is essential and while there are some who might see a new holiday as something for someone else, it's anything but. A holiday like Juneteenth is an invitation to learn, grow and celebrate what you might not know, what you might not do all the time, what you might not think you should be a part of....it's a chance to connect with stories and culture and community. You might even get the day off of work thanks to the powers that be in Washington DC. Here's a chance to try something new.
Over three days at Mona Lake Park, there's a Juneteenth Celebration happening and Jennifer Ross who is the City Clerk in Muskegon Heights is joining us today to talk about what to expect. There will be mixers happening, there will be music for the family, there will be a comedy show for the grown ups, there will be food, comradery and observance. Might even get a big and beautiful fireworks display, because after all...that's how independence is celebrated here....no matter when the declaration was made or for whom. An amazing outreach from the community is happening as the sponsor list of the events are the who's who of the area. Redi Rental, Overcoming Barriers, Brianna Scott and Associates, Parameter Law, Agewell Services, Hackley Community Care, Trinity Health, Muskegon Family Care, Michigan WORKS, Miller Knoll, GE Aviation, Bowen Heating and Cooling, State Rep Will Snyder, Muskegon Rotary Club, Muskegon Civic Theater, Soap Dude, Progressive Democratic Womens Caucus, I'Move Physical Therapy and Rehab, Hazekamp Meats, Mission for Area People, Muskegon Young Black Professionals, Kuntry Cookin, City of Norton Shores, City of Muskegon, City of Muskegon Heights, 103.7 THE BEAT have all helped to fund the event and happenings at it. Talk about a few big days at Mona Lake Park.
A weekend filled with friends and neighbors in a serene setting on Mona Lake with the smell of great food in the air, the sound of music and laughter, kids and families playing, people sharing. Anyone who'd be against adding a holiday for that.....well.... we hope that time catches up for you, because after all, you're missing out. Juneteenth is for all and in Muskegon, there's simply no better group of people at coming together than all of us. ALL OF US. Learn more about the event on the WEST MICHIGAN JUNETEENTH CELEBRATION FACEBOOK PAGE.