This Is For Us

By: Laisha Harris

The Civil War began on April 12, 1861. During the war, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation that declared all enslaved people in the south were ‘free.’ The South was defeated on April 9, 1985. Mind you, there were no cell phones or email, so the message of freedom didn’t reach Texas until General Gordon Granger came to Galveston, the morning of June 19, 1865.

Juneteenth is a celebration that began in cities with large slave populations like Austin, Galveston, and Houston. At the time, we weren’t welcome at public parks and white spaces. In 1872, former slave Reverend Jack Yates, Richard Allen, Richard Brock, and Reverend Elias Dibble purchased land for a park that we know as Houston Emancipation Park.

As the oldest park in Texas, the land on Emancipation Park symbolizes more than a place for children and families to gather and play. Emancipation Park symbolizes the determination and subsequent action taken by those former slaves. For hundreds of years, they were property, incapable of owning the land they were forced to work on. As soon as an opportunity presented itself, Yates, Allen, Brock, and Dibble acquired $1,000 and purchased 10 acres of land to exclusively provide a space where black people can celebrate Jubilee Day. In 1938, Governor James Allred declared June 20 as the observance of Emancipation Day. For nearly 150 years, the black population has found a way to acknowledge and embrace the history and joy associated with Juneteenth before it was acknowledged as a Federal Holiday.

In 2021, President Joe Biden declared Juneteenth as the eleventh American federal holiday. Since then, brands such as Walmart, Amazon and Party City have started selling red, yellow, green, and black party favors, party décor and Juneteenth themed products “celebrating black freedom.”

“My favorite is the coozie that says, ‘it’s the Freedom for me.’ Like, I can tell these places do not have black people on their marketing team because there is no way a black person would’ve signed off and been like, ‘You know what, Jim, that’s a great idea!’” says Houstonian Brianna Perkins. “We have celebrated this day for years. If Walmart would have donated to the families were lost loved ones at the supermarket or gave black people a raise, they would have done something. But I literally do not care about the ice cream, and I don’t need table covers or stickers.”

The response shows clear polarities in what is valued amongst the two groups. On one hand, the value is in the dollar – what people will waste their money on in the spirits of celebration. On the other, the value is in the history: acknowledging the journey of our ancestors and the willingness to act. It is not a marketing scheme; it is not pandering with products, it is not a moment for mocking, nor is it a moment we have to share. How did Solange put it? “Don’t feel bad if you can’t sing along, Just be glad you got the whole wide world – This us.” This day is for us.

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October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit

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Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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