What is Juneteenth?
Yesterday was June 19th, known colloquially as Juneteenth, or Emancipation Day in the USA, or Freedom Day. It dates back to 1865 when the civil war can be truly said to have ended, when Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended, and the slaves were all declared free. It was two and half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. There are various versions as to why it came so much later to that area.
The concept of an annual celebratory event on June 19th, has itself had a mixed history, and it was many decades before its significance moved beyond the Afro-American community.
The Juneteeth.com website states that “Juneteenth today, celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures. As it takes on a more national, symbolic and even global perspective, the events of 1865 in Texas are not forgotten, for all of the roots tie back to this fertile soil from which a national day of pride is growing.”
Though an American historical event, CAEF acknowledges the significance of Juneteenth, the end of the inhumane practice of slavery, the rise of civil rights and justice for black Americans, and the ongoing challenges of creating a fair and just society for all citizens, in all countries.
Zionism and Civil Rights
On June 18th we were fully engaged and enlightened by Joshua Washington, Director of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel (IBSI), in the CAEF Web Talk, entitled “Zionism and Civil Rights: How the Virus of Antisemitism has Infected the Movement for Black Lives Matter.”
Joshua’s breadth of knowledge encompassed both the historical and current contributions of the Jewish community to the struggle for equality of the Black population. At the same time, he outlined the limits of standing for or with people whose doctrine does not fully embrace equality for all people and asked why many in the Jewish community are not challenging the Movement for Black Lives Matter to denounce the antiZionism in its published platform? He pointed out that no other people would countenance an organization that stated its desire to eliminate the very nation of one’s own people.
It is imperative to stand up for justice, equality and inclusion and there are many organizations within the black community that would welcome support. Joshua urges that we find ways to express and act to promote racial harmony without compromising our commitment to standing up for Israel and the Jewish people as well.
Feedback on the Web Talk was so very quick and positive that I am sharing a few comments and urge readers to listen to the video below and share the link with others. Comments:
“Thank you so much for educating us with your wonderful speakers. This afternoon having Joshua Washington was a great learning tool in view of what is happening around the world.”
“That was a terrific webinar with Joshua Washington. Thank you. I found him so informative and I learned so much about BLM and the Black community that we all should know. He was so honest and straightforward and I agree with so much of what he said. Again you're doing a great job searching out these ‘hidden people gems’. Keep them coming!”
It would be wonderful to get CJAD radio station to interview Joshua Washington especially now. Can you arrange it? Thank you so much.”
“It was wonderful and he is so articulate. I had never heard the expression “Colour Consumed,” but it sure fits what we are seeing nearly every night on US and Canadian TV. So glad I saw this today. Thanks CAEF for exposing him to us.”
“I just wanted to tell you how wonderful today's webinar was. It was so reassuring to hear a black person reiterate what I've been saying - that Jews have always stood up for others, and we don't see it reciprocated from the Black community.”
“This is excellent! Thank you.”
“Thank you for your interesting programme today - enjoyed it.”
DONATE TO CAEF TO KEEP US ACTIVE IN THE BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS, FIGHTING ANTISEMITISM, ANTIZIONISM AND BDS.
We thank our community sponsor partners.