Juneteenth is a celebration of the end of chattel slavery and the resilience of the Black community. While it commemorates the day enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned about the Emancipation Proclamation and their freedom; it’s also part of freedom and liberation celebrations in communities of color throughout the Western Hemisphere.
As No Kid Hungry recognizes the disproportionate impact hunger and poverty has on so many in the Black community, we stand in solidarity with resilient families and parents like Jillian John, a mother in the Bronx.
“My daughter is 13 going on 30,” she joked. “She is an expert on everything and is not afraid to let you know what her opinion is.”
Like many families over the past year, Jillian and her daughter have spent a lot of time together at home. As they navigated the challenges of virtual schooling, Jillian’s daughter has persevered through it all and is poised to start high school in the fall while chasing her dream of becoming an actress.
Jillian doesn’t hide her pride in the strong young lady her daughter is becoming.
Millions of young people have big dreams like Jillian’s daughter. At No Kid Hungry, we want to celebrate the dreams of the present while acknowledging the pain of the past, and the resilience of enslaved people.
One hundred and fifty-six years ago in Galveston, Texas, General Gordon Granger brought the news that all people were free – two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Today, the celebration of Juneteenth has evolved to include parades, festivals and family reunions.
It is our hope that our staff and partners will use the celebration of Juneteenth as a time of remembrance and reflection. We must remember the past injustices and also acknowledge the present collection of systemic injustices that see Black families disproportionately impacted by poverty and childhood hunger.
At No Kid Hungry, we know the lasting effects of systemic racism on childhood hunger. That’s why two thirds of our grants during the pandemic have gone to schools and organizations supporting communities of color.
But we don’t do this alone. With your support, we work with local organizations and schools, like John’s daughter’s, nationwide to ensure children can get three meals a day.
As her daughter grows older, John understands she will have difficult conversations with her daughter.
“I had to teach her that there are several strikes against her before she even does anything just by being a Black female,” she shared.
But she hasn’t lost hope…
“You can't. You have to always think that, somewhere somehow, somebody will get it right,” she said. “Because if you don't have that little glimmer of hope, then you wouldn't get up every day thinking, ‘Okay, today might be a good day.’”