Juneteenth: The Illusion Project

Emancipation without freedom is a lie.

There is no greater recognition than the reality that one is free to speak, live, and interact with anyone without retribution. To know that one will not be interfered with without consent has been viewed as the pinnacle of existence. On June 19, 1865 General Gordon Granger appeared in Galveston to tell Texans about slave emancipation. Texas had not consistently or vocally argued against slavery, and by this point, it was unreasonable to expect everyone to suddenly transition to living without slaves. The reality is that most Texans have never acknowledged that Black people were supposed to receive the same autonomy that White Texans were supposed to take for granted.

Over the last 150 years. Black people have done everything that we could to emulate freedom while knowing that our freedom is considered suspect by the majority of our neighbors. We have held picnics, taking days off, and told ourselves that all we have to do is whatever we are told, and people will leave us alone. Searching through the history of the city of Austin, and the portrayals from the Austin-American Statesman has proven that even when we are living in our own space with our own expectations, there are further expectations placed upon us. Police brutality, constant surveillance, and public denouncement are only some of the injustices that Black people have endured to celebrate Juneteenth. From the beginning of Juneteenth celebrations, Black people have never stopped striving for liberation. The time has come to accept that nonconsensual labor does not deserve to be honored, and autonomy deserves to be respected.


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