Today, June 19, is “Juneteenth” and if you’re unsure of what this holiday represents, you’re not alone. I learned about this day just last week when SB Nation announced that it would be a company holiday.
Juneteenth is an annual celebration for the end of slavery in the United States. The holiday commemorates this day in 1865 when federal troops arrived in Texas to ensure ALL enslaved people were freed, even though President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation happened two and half years prior. This date serves as a reminder that “nobody is free until everybody is freed.”
After I looked it up, I was shocked. How have I not known about this holiday my whole life? We should have been taught this in the first grade. How is this not a PTO holiday? Why did it take until the year 2020— over a hundred years later— for states and companies to recognize such an important event in American history?!
But I digress. The important thing is that, little by little, change is happening. We are recognizing and educating ourselves on important Black history events and finally having open conversations about anti-racism. That’s a step in the right direction, and, unlike other college football leaders who can’t seem to read the room, Ohio State has been doing an incredible job with all of the above. Here’s what Ryan Day, Gene Smith and other current and former Buckeyes had to say in honor of Juneteenth.
Your first reaction to Day’s statements and actions regarding the Black Lives Matter movement might be “well yeah, he has to say that.” But the thing is, no...no he doesn’t. Day does not have to say these things, and is risking the approval of many (dimwits)— some of which might be donors— by doing so. The “Stick to Sports” crowd does not like when the athletes on their favorite team speak their minds on political, or in this case humanitarian issues, and I can’t imagine they like having their head coach promote such behavior.
I am so incredibly proud to support a team who’s led by a man who wants to “continue the dialogue” and “encourage change,” rather than other coaches (who shall not be named) who would rather keep their mouths shut as to not risk their state turning on them.
But, I digress (again).
Juneteenth. Freedom Day. Jubilee Day. Liberation Day.— gene smith (@OSU_AD) June 19, 2020
Today (June 19) is observed in different ways. Let’s embrace today as an opportunity to educate ourselves and better cultivate relationships among cultures, backgrounds and ethnicities. pic.twitter.com/sve4mkCYDb
HAPPY JUNETEETH BROTHAS N SISTAS! ☺️— Darron Lee (@DLeeMG8) June 19, 2020
The juxtaposition of “we need these monuments/flags so we can remember and honor our history” and “I’ve never heard of Juneteenth before” on my timeline this past week has been pretty amazing.— Joshua E Perry (@RIP_JEP) June 19, 2020
Today our program honors #Juneteenth as we celebrate Black culture, history and activism while reflecting on the history of emancipation and the ongoing fight toward racial equality. pic.twitter.com/XgkDkOwG7H— Ohio State Hoops (@OhioStateHoops) June 19, 2020
Happy Juneteenth my good beautiful black brothers and sisters— Seth (@seth_towns17) June 19, 2020
Today we celebrate freedom..... June 19th 1865. But the fights still not over.— Jared Sullinger Sr. (@Jared_Sully0) June 19, 2020
In recognition and celebration of Juneteenth, I encourage everyone to consider the meaning of emancipation, the importance of freedom and the obligation we all share to make this world a better place.— Michael V. Drake (@OSUPrezDrake) June 19, 2020
Read my full message to the university community: https://t.co/IolljFtQkI
Today on #Juneteenth, we celebrate Black culture, history and activism while reflecting on the history of emancipation and the ongoing fight toward racial equality.— Ohio State (@OhioState) June 19, 2020
Join the celebration by partaking in these events and resources compiled by our Office of Diversity and Inclusion.