By Shanequa Moore, LMSW, CEO of I'RAISE Girls & Boys International
157 years ago, on this day marked the freedom of African American slaves in the state of Texas. Texas was the last U.S state to free enslaved African Americans and comply with President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation which went into effect on January 1st, 1863.
As this day comes to a close, let us remember a moment in history when our country put an end to slavery, but let us not turn a blind eye to the systemic racism that continues to pervades every system in our nation. There is equity and equality we must continue to strive for until we have reached the true state of freedom.
Let us take a moment and imagine what true freedom looks like in America, It looks like equality in every system of this country: housing, employment, criminal justice, child welfare, education, financial and banking, health care and health. It looks like access to quality health care for all people, high quality education and beautified schools for children of color. True freedom looks like desegregation of our schools. It looks like unity between communities of color and the police force.
It feels like safety and peace, love, and forgiveness.
It sounds like laughter, hope, and unity.
It tastes sweet like being given an equal chance at birth to succeed regardless of race, creed, or nationality.
True freedom means being a person of color is associated with positive images, like strength, resilience, pride, art, intelligence, success, and love.
Let us strive together, neighbors and community, for true freedom as this day ends.
Shanequa Moore, LMSW
CEO & Founder
I'RAISE Girls & Boys International Corporation