The Juneteenth Road is Long

Being a white dad with a white family in a very white town, I’m reminded time and again how keeping justice in the forefront of my kids’ mind is a daily task. Our lives are full of so many distractions – gas prices, Don’t Say Gay laws, Justin Bieber palsy announcements, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups with potato chips (not nearly as tasty as you’d hope – just eat mini cups with a few Lay’s simultaneously).

Oh and mass murdering of children.

I’m not conflating the importance of the Beebs’ facial issues and the murder of children. But our national media definitely mixes them up in order of importance.

And let’s not talk about Congress’s inability to serve its constituents instead of special interests like the NRA.

But I digress.

We have a lot of distractions (like the above).But long-term battles do exist – like keeping my white kids in their super-white towns mindful that American history is full of moments for critical thinking. Like Juneteenth. Consciousness about the Black Lives Matter has waned tremendously since 2020. Some people might be “tired” of hearing about diversity, DEIA (add the “a” for accessibility), and covid.

We’re all just tired of *gesticulates wildly* it.

But being tired of dire issues is a privilege in and of itself.

I’m preoccupied with my kids’ gratitude in every aspect of their lives – from thanking the person who made dinner (our version of saying “grace”) to writing thank yous for gifts to the long arc of American justice. They have it good. They should understand the sacrifices made by others to make their comforts possible and especially to understand that, in the words of Paul Wellstone, we all do better when we all do better.

They need to understand that horrible things were done in this country and they should understand the context of the good and the bad.

So as we sit in our privileged, free-from-racial-strife enclave (even though Daddy and Daddy are still finding their way in the not-really-past-covid-oops-my-livelihood-was-robbed worlds), it’s all the more important for my family to discuss the significance of historical holidays and observances.

I always worry about my kids not getting the significance of Juneteenth, Martin Luther King Jur Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and even Christmas for Christ’s sake. (Pun intended.) So reminding them, educating them, annoying them with “Daddy discussions” is an endless effort. That road is long. The full comprehension and appreciation of Juneteenth road is long.

They’re so “tired” of *gesticulates wildly* it.

Well, guess what? There’s a lot of things to be “tired” about. The constant effort for justice, equity, equitability and the pursuit of happiness is a long-term effort.

Let’s think long-term, systemically, universally.

We all do better when we all do better.

It just takes a lot of work to get there.

But long-term fights are worth the effort. The road to justice is long. The Juneteenth road is long. Gratification and gratitude for long-efforts last a lot longer than 2022 instant gratification.