Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday.
Confederate General Robert E. Lee had surrendered at Appomattox Court House two months earlier in Virginia, but slavery had remained relatively unaffected in Texas—until U.S. General Gordon Granger stood on Texas soil and read General Orders No. 3: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” – source The History Channel https://www.history.com/news/what-is-juneteenth
It was HARD to finish this quilt while being vigilant about the pandemic updates, checking in on our elders and family working with infected patients, sewing over 100 facemasks and Priority mailing them around the country. It was HARD to finish something so totally unrelated to helping my people survive spiritually, emotionally and physically. Something selfish and private and colorful. It was a goal that boxed me in and sat my expanding backside in the chair to sew. A quilt a month. That’s MY goal. At midnight straight up, I finished Big Grape (I’ve wrestled so long with it, I gave it a nickname). Tomorrow I ship it to my cousin who loves purple and son loves blue. Surprise! We win the day. We still set goals and stick to them. We still make promises and keep them. Our souls have not drowned in despair, in spite of. In spite of. Yes, in spite of. It’s not the best work, it’s just another attempt to make something of the pieces. And, win another day.
A friend of mine broke down in tears because she’s tired. I’m not much of a crier. I was taught from an early age to set boundaries. I’ve learned how to say, “I love you with the love of the Lord … but imma get you up offah me.” I don’t like crowded spaces physically, emotionally or spiritually. So. I don’t give people a lot of space to overburden me.
That being said.
My friend was crying. Because she is tired of nonPOC pressing her to help them process what they are experiencing right now. “How can I be an ally?” is wearing her out.
This was my response to her.
BTW: to anyone that might be contemplating asking me that question, my answer is “Ask Mr. Google.” DO.THE.WORK.
“Stand strong in your conviction that people need to do their own work and not drain you of your strength, your emotional capital, your stamina, your genius, your resilience, your beauty, your determination, your creativity, your compassion, your empathy, your ability to dip into the repository of collective grief and come out inspired so that they can soothe their own newly reformed consciousness for a moment while black trauma is trending. You are too precious for that. And, those who love you know this and will not be offended.”
I’m so proud of our local library system. They still provide excellent resources even during social distancing. Glad to have my downloadable audiobooks and now seeds for my garden. Cleveland Public Library (CPL), you’re the best!