Defender Associate Editor, Aswad Walker

JUNETEENTH EXPLOSION

Did y’all catch that Juneteenth explosion this year? That dramatic rise in energy, appreciation and participation in the many different Juneteenth festivities and happenings this year? I’m sure you did, because all over Houston, all over Texas, all over the nation, people were “not just knee deep, they were totally deep” into Juneteenth. But that wasn’t even the real Juneteenth explosion. The one I’m referring to has been years in the making, and was initiated by the University of Houston’s own Dr. Gerald Horne, a globally-recognized professor of history. His latest book, “The Counter-Revolution of 1836: Texas Slavery & Jim Crow and the Roots of American Fascism,” destroys the myth of June 19, 1865 that says Gen. Gordon Granger’s reading of General Order No. 3 was a “white savior moment” that opened the doors of freedom for enslaved Blacks. No.

Horne reveals that Granger’s troops were roughly 75% Black Union soldiers who had to engage in bloody battle as they went from plantation to plantation freeing their own people. Horne even talks about another “Juneteenth,” June 19, 1867, when Blacks literally saved the U.S. from an overthrow attempt out of Texas and Mexico by Confederate forces fully committed to re-establishing slavery. Yes, you read that right. Juneteenth, both of them, are celebrations of Black self-determination.

In this June 19, 2020, file photo, demonstrators march through downtown Orlando, Fla., during a Juneteenth event. Congress and President Joe Biden acted with unusual swiftness Thursday, June 17, 2021, in approving Juneteenth as a national holiday. That sent many states scrambling to clarify their policies on the celebration of slavery’s end. This year alone, Juneteenth bills hit roadblocks in Florida, Maryland, Ohio and South Dakota. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

PUT UP OR SHUT UP

To say these Jan. 6 insurrection/coup hearings have been compelling is an understatement. They’ve already made painfully clear for anyone who doubted, that the GOP’s attempted overthrow of U.S. democracy was amazing in its multi-layered insidiousness. These agents of evil worked on every level of government and society, knowing full well their actions were illegal and unconstitutional. These insidious actors even sent agents to the home of a Fulton County Black woman election worker to terrorize and threaten her and her mom on Jan. 4, telling her she had 48 hours (till Jan. 6) to admit she knew of election fraud, or she and her family members were going to jail.

Trump & Giuliani & Fox News ran video of the woman and her mom doing typical election worker stuff, but told viewers the video was proof of fraud. Trump even blasted their names publicly, which literally put targets on their backs. So much so, they had to go into hiding at the advice of the FBI. It’s time for the American criminal justice system to put up or shut up. Because if these thugs can get away with murder and terrorism in an attempt to overthrow a democratic U.S. election, while we’re thrown under the jail for breathing while Black, then there is no rule of law anyone in America is bound to respect.

In this Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, file photo, an American flag flies at half-staff over the White House in Washington. A woman suspected of sending an envelope containing the poison ricin, which was addressed to White House, has been arrested at the New York-Canada border. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

BLACK MUSIC MONTH

On a lighter note, it’s still Black Music Month, which means there’s still time for you and yours to enjoy your favorite artist from today or those from way back in the day. There’s still time to support local artists. There’s still time to go out and enjoy live music and read about how our music has always been part of every facet of our lives and our story. In fact, there’s still time for us to join forces and start a movement to bring real music back. You know, real musicians playing real instruments and real singers singing real notes. We can covenant together to increase our support of our people at all levels of the music industry, and inspire our children, our creatives to push for more control and ownership of what we produce.