What does Juneteenth mean to me?
It marks the day we were all set free
Free from hate, fear and oppression
The idea that PEOPLE were a possession
Each person is entitled to their own life
Without someone controlling them or causing strife
While whites thought people were something to own,
We left minorities feeling scared and alone
When I look back at that time, I feel shame
Even now, bigots with my skin tone think it’s a game
My question is: when will we learn?
Equality isn’t something to earn
When will we reach a dawn of sharing humanity
Instead of living in the dark of our ancestor’s insanity?
Drop your prejudice and let us live as one
After all, we all live under the same sun.
What made us think freedom was a gift?
That they should be grateful for those bonds to lift?
Why can’t everybody see it as sin
To judge someone simply by the color of their skin?
When will the fog lift so we can see it clear
To hate is not why were put here.
We all bleed the same blood, all the same red
Why don’t you see that until people are dead?
We all breathe the same oxygen, breathe the same air
What makes you think you can take it without a care?
Why do we think we can take life? Who gave us this power?
Have we tried being sweet instead of sour?
When will this end? When will we see?
Everyone deserves equality.
No one person is better, no skin color is best
We’ve put this theory to the test.
Barak Obama won the presidential race
Mae Jenison conquered outer space.
Malcolm X and Martin Luther King
Used their words to say: Let Freedom Ring!
Ever since 19th Century Jubilation Day,
We mixed black and white to make it gray.
So why can’t we be colorblind?
It’s not so hard to be kind
I have so much more that I could say
But my point is, at the end of the day,
I don’t want to be like them
I have no weapons but this pen
I’ll use my words, I’ll use my voice
To tell you I have made my choice.
The color of our skin shouldn’t tear us apart
Because what really matters is what’s in your heart.
I hope this illness of ignorance can end
So we can look to others as our friend.
And I hope this poem has helped you see
What Jubilation Day means to me.
~J.K. 19yrs - 1st Place Winner
Meant to Be
We weren’t born to be slaves
We were born to be who we want to be
We were born to be treated like any other human being
We are free and happy as can be
~A.U. 13yrs - 2nd Place Winner
Lots of women and men fought for this country
Like Dr. Luther King. He died for this country.
Like Rosa Parks also fought for this country.
By not giving up from the bus seat.
So they boycott the bus by not going to the bus.
~Isabella Lisboa, 12yrs
The last of our days being slaves, ended in 1863,
And that is when colored men and women finally rised .
They fought for our rights, but either way we won.
Now the job is done.
It is like a song that must be sung.
It is like a picture that must be hung.
God blessed us all,
So now we must remain standing tall.
Harriet Tubman freed many slaves,
Even though it took many tries
She helped free a lot of innocent lives.
Martin Luther King , Jr. was a civil rights leader.
He got his ways from Mahatma Ghandi.
He spread beautiful rays of light and sun.
He helped win the fight for our rights.
Rosa Parks had enough,
so she decided to be tough
and refused to
~Jaquelise 13yrs - 1st Place Winner
Let me say I am greatly honored to be writing on behath of “Juneteenth.” Many adolescents are very undereducated on the subject mainly because of the fact that most schools do not teach about this historic event. I amongst many others would like to educate you on “Juneteenth” and its peculiar history.
When many adults bring up the topic of “Juneteenth” we adolescents often find ourselves asking, “Wow, really?” Wait what is “Juneteenth?” “Juneteenth” is the official date when the notorious era known as slavery was ended.
The word is considered to be a conjunction as it combines two words together. “Juneteenth” is June the month it occurred and teenth the date was the nineteenth. Some African Americans often celebrate this historic event to remember past relatives whom were enslaved at the time. Others celebrate this event to remember the official date in which slavery was abolished.
Often times when we hear stories about a momentous occasion that partook in history, we are only told a quick synopsis of the event. This is just another one of those predicaments. “Juneteenth” also has a darker more deceitful side to it. You see, two years prior to “Juneteenth” all enslaved citizens were in fact supposed to be released as free citizens.
Now, I know you are probably thinking, “Well how is this possible?” I am glad you asked. All of the slave owners were notified that “hypothetically speaking” if they were to still to have any enslaved citizens they should be released without questioning. At the time, the slaves were unaware of their freedom and continued to work involuntarily. It took trickery and deceit along with two very long unnecessary years of work labor for the enslaved destitutes to realize that not everything was up to par. Finally two years later on June 18th all the slaves were officially notified that they were “freed citizens,” and had been free for over two years.
In conclusion, “Juneteenth” is a historic event that is celebrated by some people. It is a topic that should be to every African American child. Education is vital to all adolescents and is something I myself utilize as often as possible.
~Janae Church-Shapiro, 14yrs - 1st Place Winner
I’m free. I say I’m free, for I’ve made it while so many have not. Even though I was made a fool because of the
color of my skin or they told me I will never be enough, I look at me now and I say I am free. But I will never let them put me down again. I will stay strong because the color of my skin does not define who I am.
~Kaylee Rodriguez 14yrs - 2nd Place Winner