“I’m not quite sure what freedom is, but i know damn well what it ain’t.”― Assata Shakur
Last week, President Joe Biden signed a declaration marking Juneteenth (June 19th) —the day in 1865 enslaved Black people in Texas found out they were freed, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation—a federally recognized holiday. In the same week, however, the teaching of critical race theory in Texas was banned, with other state bans making their way through the courts. The week before that, a Wisconsin judge issued a temporary restraining order against the USDA to stop the payment of much-needed debt relief to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color farmers (see the statement from the HEAL Food Alliance here). And as we write this, GOP opposition is using the filibuster to block Democratic attempts to pass voting rights legislation, arguing it tramples upon “states’ rights”—an argument used to suppress Black peoples’ rights since the 19th century.
These actions serve as a chilling reminder that the quest for liberation is ongoing. And, that any day that celebrates freedom (federally recognized or not), is a celebration of the possibility of true liberation and a recognition of the work that many are doing to create a future filled with opportunity for all. At Real Food Media, we get to collaborate with folks who are working towards a future of possibilities, groups like: the Food Justice League in Gainesville, FL, working to get prison slavery out of their university’s food system; the National Black Food & Justice Alliance following in the steps of Black freedom fighters before them in the struggle for liberation through food and land justice; and the Food Chain Workers Alliance whose members have been organizing for dignified working conditions across the food chain.
We hope you will join us in supporting these coalitions, and the many others that center abolition, anti-racism, and Black liberation in their work. We also invite you to join us in insisting that policies in celebration of Black freedom must be accompanied by structural changes that channel resources, land, and safety to Black communities.
Yours in co-creating futures of nourishment, abundance, and joy,
Tiffani, Anna, Christina, and Tanya
Featured image: Black Futures Farm of Portland, Or. Photo by Noah E. Thomas