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Juneteeth Won’t Wait, by Madyson Crawford

“Juneteenth won’t wait…Juneteenth won’t wait” my grandmother sings. She pats a soft beat on her leg and sways side to side. She explains the foods, games, and family time they spent celebrating the day of freedom. Her mother celebrated Juneteenth as a child and passed along the importance of this monumental moment with her children.

Progress comes with passion and fight. As the political climate intensifies across the country and we organize to protect ourselves and our communities, we must remember this momentous day. Two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, enslaved African-Americans in Galveston, Texans were notified that they were, indeed, emancipated from slavery. The complex emotions and experiences they felt, the continuous fight for freedom and safety, and the legacy of determination and strength they passed along still exists.

As we prepare to march to the polls for the midterm elections in November, we must activate the energy and fight that is a part of the Juneteenth Legacy. An energy that recognizes there is no progress without the fight and the vote of Texans. While celebrating Juneteenth, my great-grandparents also voted every year. They did pass along that passion to their children who then passed it onto their children.

June is the month of leadership and legacy. For the entire month I will be softly humming the song my grandmother sings to me whenever she feels the need. Sometimes it is in June, sometimes it is on a Saturday in January while playing a game of cards. “Juneteenth won’t wait” represents the urgency of freedom and the knowledge that progress will come. “Juneteenth won’t wait” and neither will we.

— Madyson Crawford

From One Hand to Another, poem by Joelle Cheatem

Freedom delayed is an injustice everyday

Those who were martyred in the past

And those who have picked up the fight in their place

We carry their hopes and bear their scars

We’ve become standard bearers

We cannot shy away

Juneteenth is a yearly renewal of the initial promise of the United States

A commitment to fairness and equality under the law

Freedom from terror and the abuses of others

It whips up the past and reflects the perilous nature of the road we take

The humanity others have been denied anywhere is injustice everywhere

‘Go Vote’ is more than a slogan

It is to carry on a tradition, originally denied to many

The levees that held it slowly chipped away

Not to be taken lightly or squandered

A stake in society and a voice begging to be heard

As the date slowly draws near the feeling is unmistakable

Juneteenth has arrived

Juneteenth never left, it lingers as a specter of the past and a glimpse of a better future

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