JUNETEENTH

By Stephanie Tilley

From chains to self preservation,
From enslavement to opportunity.
It’s been a long journey to be recognized,
To be acknowledged as human.
Our black has been bruised… persecuted… and hated!
We have been treated like forbidden fruit,
When the taste of injustice,
is lethal to our lives.

No, we do not know the fullness of freedom,
The peace of unconditional acceptance.
In many ways, we are still enslaved!
Still targets of terrorism,
Still products of a broken system.
However, our opportunity has been paved,
By prayers, cotton and marches!
Our ancestors have carried us on their backs,
Their blood, sweat and tears,
Anoints our paths!
We are pushing through our trauma!

Our blood remembers…
All of our ancestors before us and their resilience!
We have survived the slave ships!
Today Juneteenth,
We claim phenomenal!
Because for too long we been treated like an unwanted phenomenon!

Today Juneteenth,
We honor the power of our people!
Today Juneteenth,
We take ownership of our liberty!
Today Juneteenth
We celebrate our lineage!
The blood of our ancestors legacy flows through our consciousness,
They are our history!
Living in our skin.
They have built our present!
With their prayers and strength.
They gave us a future!
Their freedom was the ultimate sacrifice.
Today Juneteenth
We honor them.
We honor us.