When we witness the horrific way that law enforcement devalued the lives of mostly Latinx children in Uvalde, Texas — not just standing by while a gunman took their lives but holding their parents back from trying to save them — the inhumanity feels particularly dark.
That shooting occurred just after we witnessed a white supremacist kill Black people in their local grocery store. Then, we hear about the systemic racism and how not only did this community lose vital members but also this grocery store, turning the area into a food desert. The compounding injustices feel particularly dark.
Now we begin to watch the Jan. 6, 2021, hearings and bear witness to how our imperfect democracy was almost overthrown, largely at the behest of a sitting president. He solicited the eager help of mostly white men with ties to white supremacy and patriarchy. The coup attempt is not over. That former president appointed three people to the Supreme Court, and they are poised to roll back reproductive freedom and allow states to subjugate people through reproductive domination. The entrenchment feels particularly dark.
In June, we have unique opportunities to shine some light through the darkness with Juneteenth and Pride celebrations.
Juneteenth is a celebration of the emancipation. Black people in Galveston, Texas, should have been freed from bondage on Jan. 1, 1863, with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, but, for two and a half years, enslavers in Texas defied the law. It took a proclamation by a Union Army general to finally end institutional slavery in the Confederacy. Then, on Dec. 6, 1865, the United States would ratify an amendment banning enslavement everywhere in our nation.
June is Pride month because of the Stonewall resistance, in which mostly Black and Brown queer people — specifically drag queens and trans folks — lit a movement on fire while resisting police brutality. They did so, in part, through celebration of their identity. Drag queen conga lines inspired days of resistance, days of insistence that their identity and their humanity would not be oppressed. It would take until 2003 to decriminalize gay sex and until 2013 for the Supreme Court to affirm that marriage equality was protected under the Constitution.
In this moment in which we can think of shooting after shooting targeting Black people, Brown people, women, queer people, Jewish people, Asian women and more, it is more important than ever to celebrate ourselves and each other. We must rally, march, parade, dance and center our joy. We must celebrate and take moments of time to feel liberation so we can continue to fight darkness with light and love.
Read more of the Jun 15-21, 2022 issue.