Reconcile your sins

Make Juneteenth an official holiday

Reginald Webb, Times Staff

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Many black Americans celebrate Juneteenth, which commemorates slave emancipation. Why should this be simply a black holiday? America should celebrate it formally.

Emancipating the slaves has to be seen as one of the most significant events of our founding. It is the beginning of the ongoing effort in American history to make democracy, equality and civil rights apply to all.

Referred to as America’s original sin, slavery lasted for more than two centuries. It is the most expansive international crime against humanity in modern history.

Celebrating the Emancipation should be considered an American Day of Reconciliation. It could serve as a symbol that allows Americans to regret, reconcile, or make amends for past behavior or a crime or sin that they now feel they have to make amends for or reconcile.

Preserving this idea in the form of a holiday, celebrating the end of slavery is a powerful message to the world and would serve society well in establishing a tradition of reconciliation in America which we desperately need.

We have been socialized to be unapologetic about so much. Manifest Destiny sounds a lot like Isis today, yet we have never apologized to Mexico. We refuse to consider reparations for slavery even though the practice is responsible for America’s emergence as an economic superpower surpassing Europe and the rest of the world.

Slavery created unprecedented wealth for many, while leaving former slaves in poverty. Most of the disparity in wealth existing between blacks and whites today is directly related to slavery and Jim Crow.

Despite the brutalization that took place for over two hundred years we do not show regret. In the context of today, the unexplainable need President Trump touts of America needing to “win” is the result of our indoctrination to winning at all costs being a large part of our culture.

American exception is asserted by many to justify our leadership in the world yet we lack the moral compass to hold ourselves accountable for past misdeeds that violate international law and modern standards of agreed upon values with regard to the United Nations.