Like many people with my skin tone, I’m searching for how to be an ally and what role I have in Juneteenth. Today’s Juneteenth Love Demonstration was exactly what my city needs, as do I personally.
Paid Time Off
I’ve just gotten my feet under me in my new job with GoDaddy Pro. I learned as a company, we were observing Juneteenth on Friday as a paid day off for USA based workers.
My paid day off was spent doing all the mundane house chores that usually happen on Saturday so that I could attend today’s event.
My City: Chambersburg
I started asking around for ideas and suggestions on how to participate. I’m new to the event, but not new to the mindset of an ally. After some searching, I found Racial Reconciliation was having a Juneteenth Love Demonstration event on the square in Chambersburg, my local city.
When folks ask me where I call home, I often say “near Gettysburg”. Truthfully, it’s Chambersburg. Few non-locals would know that name, despite it being an important part of America’s history. Our city was burned to the ground for refusing to supply Confederate soldiers as they headed to Gettysburg.
Despite these undertones to our city’s history, we struggle with race relations. I wouldn’t say that it is a heated place making news for violence. But when you speak with anyone that does not identify as white, there are plenty of subtle and not-so-subtle horror stories of discrimination.
Like most towns in this part of Pennsylvania, the large percent of the population are white, and many of those who are not reside specifically within the downtown area.
Attending the Juneteenth Love Demonstration
Headed to the event, I hardly knew what to expect. I knew this was specifically around racial relations in my county and city. I didn’t know if I’d see folks I knew there. Sadly, none of my pre-Covid acquaintances attended.
Since Covid lockdowns, I’ve been rather appalled by most local acquaintances diving headlong into QAnon, Plandemic movie, and generally disregarding the CDC guidelines for health. While the same sphere of acquaintances also thought the events of last summer around racial tension were warranted and the tragedies were horrendous, that’s about where things stopped. I’ve walked away quietly from so many of my local acquaintances because really – will pointing things out make any of this any better? Unlikely.
So today, I decided whether I had any idea what to expect or knew a single person present, I had to go. I’m sorry it took me a while to show up and start doing the work around racial reconciliation. No longer am I content to support from afar. I am still a bit aloof in person until my children can be vaccinated as well.
I am so glad this event happened. I look for more opportunities to show up, put in the work, build relationships locally, and find others who are like-minded. It’s still good to be around those who aren’t, in hopes of revealing a better way. Perhaps soon the kids can be vaccinated as well, and I’ll be wide open to social interaction more often. Until then, our local steady 38% of folks with at least 1 Covid vaccine dose is quite concerning.
Get a full replay of the event: https://fb.watch/6d_vwJs8Ym/, as the embed from their Facebook page only sometimes works.