There was a series of protests all over the world against racism. Especially the killing of George Floyd and other dark-toned people. The “Black lives matter” protests lasted for four weeks all around the world.
On Juneteenth (a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S.), three black leaders at Northeastern University noted that to confront systemic racism and to bring out effective changes, hard work, and universal support is required.
There was an online panel discussion on ‘Juneteenth: Legacies and Lessons’. Rod Brunson (Professor of Public Life) expressed his views. He was proud of the mobilisation and energy displayed by the young people.
Melissa Pearson (Assistant Teaching Professor of English) highlighted the history behind Juneteenth and the end of slavery in the USA after two years of signing the Emancipation Proclamation. She described it to be a limp document. Due to its late enforcement, the dark-skinned were enslaved for long.
The two-year delay in enforcement was also a topic of heated discussion. Ted Landsmark is the Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. He spoke about how the meaning and importance of Juneteenth has gone down, even though it is an empowerment day for Black people in the U.S.
Landsmark also said, “It is an embarrassment that after eight years of an African-American president, and now three years of a white president, we see that we have slid backwards in terms of many of the metrics that really matter to our communities of colour, so now is the time for us to set some metrics and strategies for achieving social justice.”
There has to be a moral and ethical commitment. To reunite the country it is necessary. And to bring unity in terms of race, health, education, etc. It has to begin within the context of political leadership. The panellists focused on the ugly truth of racism. The pigmented people have to face so much. They suffer economically, mentally, and morally as well. These burdens shouldn’t lay at their doorstep, expressed Brunson. The movement of equality is for all.
The panellists agreed that the support of the white people would be essential to bring successful changes towards opposing racism and building a productive society. Prejudice in society is a major problem. To mitigate it, we require response and acceptance.
– Arpita Priyadarshinee