Today we celebrate the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth in Black Love with Black families!
Today I am reminded of two love letters.
First, I remember that Black Lives Matter began as a love letter. As Alicia Garza shared in her 2016 talk with students at University of Richmond, Black Lives Matter “began as a ‘love letter’ to Black people” that she wrote and shared on Facebook after Trayvon Martin’s murderer was aquitted. As Garza explains, Black Lives Matter was a love letter to affirm we are deserving “Of life. Of deserving to live and not live in fear of being killed based on the color of your skin.”
I also remember that one of my deepest moments as a parent began with a love letter. 2016 was the year that I began Parenting for Liberation, a virtual community that connects, inspires, and uplifts Black folks as they navigate and negotiate raising Black children within the social and political context of the US. Like Garza, I began the journey with a love letter to my son, paying homage to James Baldwin’s letter to his nephew in his book, The Fire Next Time. Harkening Baldwin’s struggle to both uplift his nephew’s strong spirit while simultaneously trying to keep him safe as a Black boy in America, I made a commitment to move through my fear to practice liberation in my relationship with my children.
As I began the journey for liberated parenting, I came to another amazing queer writer who was friends with Baldwin, Audre Lorde, who wrote about her role as Black queer mother raising Black children. Lorde writes, “Raising Black children in the mouth of a racist, sexist, suicidal dragon, is perilous and chancy. If they cannot love and resist at the same time, they probably will not survive.” Lorde’s quote has informed my work of liberated parenting, a parenting philosophy that is rooted in both love and resistance, in loving my children while cultivating within them a deep-rooted self love and resistance to any and everything that comes up against that inherent sense of love. The lessons on love are rooted in loving their Blackness, affirming their skin, their hair, their culture. Being unapologetically Black. The lessons on resistance are rooted in the historical and present freedom fighters who resist, challenge, and dismantle systems of oppression to remind them of their voice, their power, their agency, their resilience.
Today is Juneteenth, a day in which we honor the liberation of Black communities from enslavement in 1865. Though Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation took place in January 1863, it wasn’t until two and a half years later on June 19, 1965 that union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to spread the news that the war had ended and Black people were now free.
This celebration of liberation, 2.5 years after the fact, reminds me that Black folks have always had to fight for freedom and that freedom has always come with obstacles and delays. Yet and still, Black folks have always celebrated our resilience and strength as a people!
Love & Resistance is what I will celebrate this Juneteenth, beginning with loving on Black folks. I am honored to participate as a wisdom keeper for 𝗔 𝗗𝗮𝘆 𝗼𝗳 𝗕𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝗟𝗼𝘃𝗲: 𝗔 𝗖𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗼 𝗣𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗲 hosted by Black Love Convergence. The purpose of the gathering is for Black folks to fall deeper in love with Blackness! I am also launching my book, Parenting for Liberation: A Guide to Raising Black Children in conversation with Denene Milner, author of My Brown Baby. The work I do with Parenting for Liberation is rooted in an Afro-futuristic vision of a world where Black parents are in community with each other to raise Black children with love & resistance. Join me.
Photo Credit: TC Davis