"My Hope This Juneteenth is That We Never Forget It"
Yoli Alovor, PhD - June 19, 2021
On this Juneteenth Rosemont’s Vice President of Diversity and Belonging, Dr. Yoli Alovor, encourages us to never forget. “As a community of learning it is essential that we pause to consider the significance of Juneteenth. I urge you to think critically about what we can learn from history to guide us into a better future. I look forward to reflecting on this, and much more, as we continue our Real-Talk community discussions in the fall.”
“My hope this Juneteenth is that we never forget it.” - Henry Gates, Jr.
The jubilee sounds and fervent waving of Black Liberation flags are being witnessed across the United States in celebration of Juneteenth. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that Major General Gordon Granger and his soldiers informed the slaves in Galveston, TX, that they were free. This proclamation ignited what has now been deemed a national celebration for the ending of slavery in the United States. Let us not forget.
As we join together to celebrate this day of freedom, let us not forget that this collective commitment is evidence and a critical historical expression of our nation embracing history. This declaration acknowledges the injustice of bondage and how the slave trade was a driving economic foundation for America.
It is easy to rejoice in the national holidays that have been accepted and supported by the dominant American culture. It is righteous to display symbolic expressions to support black lives when there is blatant evidence of bias and corruption. However, equally important is to demonstrate support for the ill effects of hundreds of years of slavery. Let us not forget.
The legendary historian Henry Gates, Jr. said, “Juneteenth is one of our greatest examples of how a grassroots movement can take charge of its own history and use it to beneficial ends,” However, he also concluded by saying, “How much progress have we made or failed to make since slavery? How do we convey to our children and grandchildren the significance of their history?”
Let us not forget. On this Juneteenth, let us encourage one another to remember that as a nation, this is a critical commemoration. We must divulge the truths of slavery so that the American narrative is consistent with the contributions slaves made to help build this nation. Indoctrinating Juneteenth as a national holiday validates that despite the horrific devastations of slavery, black lives are preserved. We must remain diligent and committed to demanding the same equity bestowed to the dominant American culture.
So, as we celebrate, let’s continue to reflect and remember the history behind this celebration. Gone are the days when America’s memory is fallible. We can no longer exclude, conceal or hide from who we are. Let us move forward together as a campus, a community, and a nation. We are one Rosemont. Let us not forget.