Although the holiday will be new to most, it is something that has always been a part of my life.
I was born in Texas where African Americans have been celebrating freedom on June 19 since 1865. As a child I did not understand, but I knew there would be a trip to the park for barbecue and games with all of the other African Americans folks in the city. It was the one day the city allowed us to use the park.
As an adult when I moved around the country, I took note that not many other places celebrated the day. It was only people who had grown up in Texas and took the tradition to other places.
As I got older I began to embrace the meaning of this holiday. I appreciate a people who said, we are going to celebrate when we were freed and your treachery in the act. We shall pass the story down for generations of how you tried to hoodwink us for your profit.
It also gives us a moment to reflect on how resilient our people are. Whatever the obstacle, it is already defeated.