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'Spark For A Movement': Brianna Turner

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The Juneteenth holiday holds even more significance for me this year. What we have witnessed since the public death of George Floyd is anger morph into outrage; outrage evolve into protests; and protests provide a spark for a movement. This movement is a continuation of the information enslaved Black people received on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation — that they were free.

In many ways, Black Americans are still in bondage due to police brutality and an oppressive criminal justice system deeply steeped in systemic and institutional racism. It seems as though a collective lightbulb has gone off for people all over the world concerning the centuries-long suffering of Black people in the country most consider to be the best in the world. This acknowledgment gives me hope the United States will make real and sustained strides toward eradicating structural racism.

I can only imagine the sheer joy my direct ancestors had in their hearts and souls when they received word of their freedom from the horrors of slavery. Unfortunately, little did they know their descendants would still be fighting for equality and their humanity 155 years later. I will celebrate Juneteenth with my family this year in honor of my ancestors with renewed hope that the United States will live up to its lofty goals and ideals within my lifetime.