To the editor:
July 4th is Independence Day, liberation from England. What does this day mean to us today? For some, it is a day to celebrate with family, to feast on favorite foods, attend a parade and end the day with fireworks. For some others, it is a day of reflection, to question the meaning of freedom in the United States and the world. July 4, 1776 was freedom from England, blacks were still enslaved.
For the past three or four years, the Roxboro and Person County community has attempted to look at issues that face us as a community and as lovers of humankind. BASIC (Brothers and Sisters in Conversation) has had bi-monthly gatherings to talk and to listen, to share stories, participate in structured discussions and view videos on racism. Both talking and listening has been difficult at times, but so necessary.
But someone is missing. Most of the Caucasian attendees have been transplants from other cities and states. Where are the native Personians?We can assume, but you know what they say about that. Is it that you wish we would get over the issue of race and move on? Is it too painful to listen to horrors? We can shut up and go away, but with that things will never change. Maybe you think things don’t need to change in our small town. They do. Consider the idea of listening, talking, sharing. Maybe there are some things we all need to let go. Maybe, just maybe, what we were taught by our parents/schools and what we have always felt needs to change. Some history has not just been misleading but incorrect. Native Personians, we are missing you and your point of view. Your views matter. What is your view of those you have considered as “the others?” Maybe you think race relations are fine in this county. Let us know that.
What are you hearing from the pulpit of your church with regard to racism? How is this discussed around the dinner table? Or is it? How is your thinking impacting you, your children, blacks, latinos, and those who do not share your views. No one in Roxboro and Person County is truly liberated until we are.
Across the U.S., people celebrated Juneteenth on June 19. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed Jan. 1, 1864. Texas waited two and a half years later to inform slaves that they were free. Thus, Juneteenth. There may have been freedom from England in 1776, but blacks were still slaves.
If July 4th is to be all that the Founding Fathers and mothers had in mind, then we have an obligation to live into the freedom and justice for all locally, nationally and globally.