By Shruti Bhatnagar, Chair of the Montgomery County Sierra Club.
"Juneteenth is a day of reflection, a day of renewal, a pride-filled day. It is a moment in time taken to appreciate the African American experience. It is inclusive of all races, ethnicities and nationalities - as nothing is more comforting than the hand of a friend."
"Juneteenth is a day on which honor and respect is paid for the sufferings of slavery. It is a day on which we acknowledge the evils of slavery and its aftermath. On Juneteenth we talk about our history and realize because of it, there will forever be a bond between us."--Juneteenth.com
We all must come together and stand in solidarity to honor and respect the sacrifices of the black community that opened the doors for many others. We must break free of the shackles of racism and recognize that our success lies in the success of everyone around us. While diversity is the hallmark and strength of our nation today, it is built upon the sacrifices of the black community.
We all must do our part. We must all take the time to listen, learn, reflect, and identify our own privilege. It’s important to recognize how our race, culture, identity, and privilege contribute to the realities of racism. It’s important to understand that remaining silent to injustice is to take sides with the oppressor. To use one’s privilege to speak up and fight against injustice is an opportunity to make a difference.
“When we identify where our privilege intersects with somebody else's oppression, we'll find our opportunities to make real change.”
― Ijeoma Oluo
In a nation that is no longer only black & white, but a fabric woven with diverse colors, we need every thread of the fabric woven together to be in solidarity and fight together against any injustice that tears us apart. We must embrace diversity and be inclusive of every voice to end inequality and dismantle racism. In all pursuits, it is prudent to stop and reflect, to take a step back in order to move forward and to show gratitude.
“What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.” ― Brené Brown.
Let’s take the time to show some gratitude today and celebrate by supporting Black Lives Matter. Let’s pledge to be intentional in our actions to fight injustice - change one thing in how we do things and open doors for others to succeed. Take one step back to uplift another. Let’s embrace diversity and work together to continue the fight against environmental injustice, for a better tomorrow and for a better planet.
In honor of Black Lives Matter, with gratitude - on Juneteenth, 2020.