culture

Here’s Why Texas Takes Up Such An Important Place In The History Of Juneteenth And The Abolition Movement

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For those of you unaware, Juneteenth is the holiday that officially commemorates the abolishment of slavery in America. While the Emancipation Proclamation was signed over two years earlier, we celebrate Juneteenth because it’s the day Texas finally complied with the law and informed slaves they were free.

Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, made effective beginning January 1, 1863.

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Back in the late 1800s, word traveled slowly. When the Civil War was won, it took over two months for Confederate soldiers to hear that Robert E. Lee surrendered. Other more sinister and likely theories are that slaveowners kept the news a secret for as long as possible, and/or someone actually killed the messenger sent by the Federal government to relay the news.

Thirty months later, Galveston Island, Texas, was the last town in America that was illegally enslaving African Americans.

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General Gordon Granger and his cohort of Union soldiers had been traveling the South for two years to spread the word that slaves were freed. His last stop was Galveston Island, on June 19th, 1865.

The story has it that the freed slaves left before Granger finished his announcement.

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Droves of freed African-Americans fled Texas to find more welcoming (northern) parts of the U.S. While Juneteenth is the day we celebrate freedom, slavery never ended. There were several reports of slave owners deliberately waiting to free their slaves until after the harvest.

In a way, Juneteenth commemorates what we all already know to be true: justice delayed for Black and brown folks is somehow worth celebrating.

When freed slaves tried to celebrate Juneteenth a year later, Jim Crow laws were already in effect.

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There were no public places they could use. A group of freed slaves in Houston pooled $800 to purchase what is now called “Emancipation Park.” For seventy more years, it would be the only public park and swimming pool open to African-Americans in Houston.

The Mascogos, often called the Black Seminoles, live and celebrate Juneteenth in Coahuila, Mexico.

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The origin of this group is difficult to pinpoint. Some say they were African slaves of the Florida Seminole tribe and fled to Mexico, where they made alliances with local indigenous groups. Others say that they were freed slaves who lived among the Florida Seminole tribes as equals and created their own community.

Every year, what’s left of the community celebrates Juneteenth in full regalia.

Texas was the first state to recognize Juneteenth as a state-wide holiday.

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When Barack Obama was a Senator, he co-sponsored legislation to make Juneteenth a national holiday. He continued that fight into his presidency, but it never passed.

To this day, it’s shocking how many folks pass by Juneteenth and look to July 4th as a celebration of freedom.

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If Fannie Lou Hammer was right in saying “nobody’s free until everybody’s free,” then America’s founding ain’t the day to celebrate. Juneteenth put an end to the repulsive founding of America–built on the backs of Black men and women.

Juneteenth is both a day of celebration and resistance of modern-day slavery.

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Over 150 years later, no meaningful reparations have been made to the descendants of slaves. The effects of slavery and Jim Crow live on in our laws as our country legally throws descendants of slaves into prison, into underfunded schools, and are legally murdered by police at disproportionate rates. One in every 13 African Americans has been stripped of the right to vote because of felony disenfranchisement laws. White supremacy reigns.

Black America, we are with you.

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Juneteenth is a day more Americans should celebrate. July 4th is a holiday that will always symbolize the freedom of the nation from the ruling of England. However, Juneteenth is when the nation decided to end the cruel and horrible act of slavery.

READ: Vogue Brazil Style Director Resigns After Hosting A “Slavery” Party

These Latinx Queer Organizations Need Your Money More Than You Need Corporate Rainbow Socks

Culture

These Latinx Queer Organizations Need Your Money More Than You Need Corporate Rainbow Socks

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Come PRIDE month, we see every company from REI to Target slapping a rainbow on their brand to support the LGBTQ+ movement. That’s great–it’s always a comfort to see someone displaying a symbol of safety and inclusion.

However, we have to do more than that. The LGBTQ+ movement has certainly made strides since 1969, but we’re still being murdered in the streets and ejected out of our careers in the federal government. There isn’t enough space for us to have the same opportunities as straight folks, and the numbers get worse for queer people of color. So go buy those rainbow socks and then throw twenty bucks to one of these organizations supporting LGBTQ+ Latinos in other ways.

It Gets Better Project

@it_gets_better_project / Instagram

We saw a slew of celebrities in the last ten years join forces with the It Gets Better Project. Founded by Dan Savage in 2010, the social media campaign aims to highlight stories targeted toward LGBT youth to prove that it gets better. More than half of trans people attempt suicide at some point in their lives. We need this campaign.

Donate here.

The Trevor Project

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After the Academy Awards honored short film “Trevor,” the Trevor Project has exploded to offer suicide hotline services to LGBTQ+ youth under 25 years of age. The organization has grown with the times to also offer webchat and text message services, saving lives 24/7.

Donate here.

The Los Angeles LGBT Center

Los Angeles LGBT Center / Facebook

Los Angeles is a city made of near majority Latinos, which means that the LA LGBT Center might be the most comprehensive health service provider of LGBT Latinos in the country. Not only does the center offer mental health services, housing for homeless youth, and job training for one of the most marginalized communities in the country, their advocacy team is actively getting bills passed that provide funding for these services.

Donate here.

The Trans Latina Coalition

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Trans Latinas who immigrate to the U.S. to seek asylum from their probable murders in their home country arrive at Trump administration’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers for basic human rights abuses. The TLC is offering resources to trans Latinas in detention centers in California, Florida, Chicago, Texas, and the Washington areas.

Donate here if you think immigration is an LGBTQ+ issue.

The National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network

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If you’re a QPOC you know how impossible it is to find mental health resources that are culturally competent enough to actually treat our mental health needs resulting from discrimination. It’s infuriating. This organization offers an actual network of therapists and we need it to grow.

Donate here.

Pride Fund to End Gun Violence

@Pride_Fund / Twitter

This Political Action Committee (PAC) is supporting candidates who are demanding gun policy reform as informed by the fatalities the LGBT community grieves because of gun violence. The PAC was formed after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando and has helped get folks into the positions of power needed to change gun laws.

Donate here.

Casa De Esperanza

@casa_de_esperanza / Instagram

Based in Minnesota, this group is working to end domestic violence in the Latinx community by offering shelter and hotline. More than 50 percent of queer Latinas have experienced physical violence, rape or stalking by their partners. This organization is working to respond to the needs of these women.

Donate here.

National Latina Institute For Reproductive Health

@NLIRH / Twitter

Caption: “Nearly 31% of Black women of reproductive age and 27% of Latinas of reproductive age are enrolled in #Medicaid.”

The NLIRH is a crucial element in understanding and preventing gender inequalities for Latinas, specifically. They are doing the research that nobody else will, to understand how brown women fair in reproductive justice. The group fights for abortion access and immigrant health rights and so much more.

Donate here.

Nalgona Positivity Pride

@nalgonapositivitypride / Instagram

If you can’t donate, you need to follow @nalgonapositivitypride to get indigenous body positivity in your feed. Founder Gloria Lucas is tapping into something we feel in our bones–the colonization of our minds and how living in a white society has created a crisis of eating disorders rampant among communities of color. The NPP offers educational resources and support groups for survivors.

Donate here.

Mijente

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Marisa Franco created Mijente to co-conspire campaigns for Latinx, Chicanx and Black rights. This is intersectionality at its finest, prioritizing queer, poor women of color through organizing. Don’t give up on organizing–it’s given us PRIDE!

Donate here.

Equality Federation

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This Federation is organizing state-based organizations to target the federal government to meet LGBT people where they are. Just recently, they’ve demanded the government invest in public education and divest from privately run charter schools that preach abstinence and exclude LGBT history from their curriculums.

Donate here.

Casa Ruby

@CasaRubyDC / Twitter

Trans Salvadoreña Ruby Corado has created a safe space in Washington D.C. for LGBTQ youth. As trans youth begin to transition, the cost of clothing to adjust to their rapidly changing bodies is often too expensive for anyone to bear. Casa Ruby offers clothing exchanges, hot meals, and housing referrals, as well as legal counseling for youth.

Donate here.

These organizations give LGBTQ+ Latinx people somewhere to turn to. This is what PRIDE is all about.

READ: Boston Heteros Are Calling For A Straight Pride Parade And Twitter Is Not Having It

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