As a Penn Stater, the recognizable #WeAre is a part of my DNA. It is shouted with pride every Saturday throughout the Fall. It instantly creates a bond with strangers wearing the blue & white in public. WE ARE is a mantra, a declaration, a culture.
Today is Juneteenth. This is a day that we celebrate the emancipation of slavery. I plan on curbing the thought that only black families should pay homage to this holiday. This is American history. Slavery was/is ugly and vile. And with most things that deserve these descriptors, we want to look away. But we must not.
WE ARE is a culture that should challenge the status quo of inequality. “…all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property…” These words were spoken by General Granger some 150+ years ago. We cannot know where we are going without looking at where we came from. We must not look away but move towards the issue.
Recognizing we have a problem is often the first step. For many people reading this, step 1 is a given. Y’all are ready for action. For others, perhaps this is new to you. Welcome!
Before this gets too lengthy, let me share some action for you to consider.
1. Wrestle with the statement,“inequality for one is inequality for all”. How does it resonate with you? Where does it (not) make sense?
2. Get educated. Know our history. Explore current events. Read books like ‘Just Mercy’ by Bryan Stevenson or ‘Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria’ by Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum. Watch movies like ‘Hidden Figures’, ’42’, ‘Selma’, ’13th‘, and ‘LA92’, then start a conversation.
3. “Liberty and justice for all” is included in the American Pledge of Allegiance. Identify what liberty and justice for all truly looks like. In a similar fashion, experts that can spot counterfeit currency spend all their time studying the real bills. We should become experts in liberty and justice so that any deviation is quickly corrected.
4. Share your heart with others, in the comments or around the dinner table.
5. Remember, WE ARE in this life together.