Usher Raymond wants all of America to celebrate Juneteenth as a national holiday, and not just for the culture but for the economic impact and the “many contributions” Blacks have made to this country.
The entertainer and entrepreneur wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post calling it “our authentic day of self-determination.” He continues: “It is ours to honor the legacy of our ancestors, ours to celebrate and ours to remember where we once were as a people.”
I’m sharing an opinion piece I wrote in The @WashingtonPost for Juneteenth which is online now and in print tomorrow. As you celebrate Juneteenth tomorrow, please be loud and proud!! https://t.co/DBPsTdnQxF
— Usher Raymond IV (@Usher) June 19, 2020
As he writes in the Post:
Recognizing Juneteenth as a national holiday would be a small gesture compared with the greater social needs of black people in America. But it can remind us of our journey toward freedom, and the work America still has to do. We could observe it, as many black Americans already do, by celebrating both our first step toward freedom as black people in America and also the many contributions to this land: the construction of Black Wall Street; the invention of jazz, rock n’ roll, hip-hop and R&B; and all the entrepreneurship and business brilliance, extraordinary cuisine, sports excellence, political power and global cultural influence black Americans have given the world. And rather than observing Juneteenth as we do other holidays, by taking it off, we can make it a day when black culture, black entrepreneurship and black business get our support. A national Juneteenth observance can affirm that Black Lives Matter!
Raymond gives credit to those who have been campaigning for years to make it a recognized holiday, including 93-year-old Texan Opal Lee. And he advocates for the passage of legislation announced yesterday by Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) to make it a federal holiday.