Today is #Juneteenth 2020. This day is in observation of June 19, 1865, the date on which the last enclave of enslaved Africans, located in Galveston, Texas, learned the US Government had abolished formal chattel slavery nationwide. Aside from various pockets of Africans who continued to be enslaved by rogue slave owners, everyone in the country was now free of formal bondage.

Keyword: formal.

What would ensue after 1865 and well into 2020 would be an informal myriad of continued human rights violations in the form of cons, intimidation, killings, theft, and countless injustices which would form an accrued disadvantage against our people into today. While many of these were informal in their mass coordination, they were nevertheless very systematic and persistent in nature, and hardly ever rebuffed by the government if not outright perpetrated by government.

Today’s most visible elements of that include an ever-growing racial wealth gap, police brutality, and disparate health outcomes, just to name a few. We were brought into this country as the bottom caste in 1619 and are still the bottom caste in 2020, with numerous immigrant groups having arrived and ascended past us. However, that is not our entire story.

Today, what we also have is an undefeatable history of ancestors who are the gold standard for resilience, vision, and love all over the world. It is because of their blood, sweat, and tears that we stand before you today with the ability to post to Facebook, or possibly even create our own Facebook. It is because of them we have the strength to march in the face of militarized police, strive for Black excellence in predominantly white workplaces, and still wake up every day to do it all over again.

So today, on this very critical Juneteenth 2020, we ask all Black Young Professionals to appreciate both the gifts and the wins of our history, and to reflect on what has been tried and what hasn’t. Leverage your creativity and intellect now and going forward to dedicate yourselves to volunteering in the Black community (#Community), connecting with other Black folks (#Social), and learning about Black politics (#Personal).

Community, #Social, and #Personal are the three pillars Black Young Professionals of Metro Detroit was founded on and this is the most important time to keep those in front of us.

With Power and Love,
BYP Detroit