This is a day to recognize and have, in our minds and in our hearts, our ancestors whose struggle has gotten us to this day, and individually and collectively, as a society, has gotten us to this point of real progress.
On my desk right in front of me every day, I have a visible reminder of two of my ancestors: my great grandfather, Arthur Eames Wright, who was born into slavery. He was the son of an enslaved woman and slave owner. My great grandfather was able to get a rudimentary education — he learned to read — became a country preacher, and bought land, and that foothold led to my grandfather, Arthur Jerome Wright, being able to climb higher. Daddy Wright got a college degree from Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina and pastored a church in Bennettsville, South Carolina and had all his kids go to college.
The past is inextricably connected to the present in a way that we often don't understand or don't want to accept or admit. Juneteenth is a day to understand the past more accurately to understand the present more accurately and be clearer and more committed to creating a better future.
At Stand for Children, we are learning, listening and reflecting today. But, more than that, we are each making commitments to do all we can to make this time different.
To ensure that our white brothers and sisters never go back to being ignorant about or comfortable with Black people being killed and terrorized and harassed with impunity by police.
To ensure Black lives truly matter at schools and workplaces across the country.
To ensure anti-racist white people consistently step up and challenge racist statements and actions by friends, family members, co-workers, and acquaintances, and dig in and educate those who are open to moving from a place of fear and ignorance to learning and understanding.
We are the people and this is the time. If not now, then when?