I remember when I first learned of Christopher Columbus’s past.
My first reaction was absolute disgust. The stories are horrific and undeniably true. There are diaries and thorough notes. One story stuck with me above all of them. It is the story of a Caribbean woman Columbus captured and “gifted” to one of his men. I won’t rewrite the details here. It’s too lurid and upsetting. Here is the source and excerpt.
When I discovered this about the great Discoverer who I had previously idolized like most Americans, I was 38 years old.
Since then, when I hear the name Columbus I think of her. I do. I can’t shake the story. And I have often wondered out loud to my husband as we drive downtown into Columbus, “do you think everyone knows who their city is named after?”
Nope. He says. Probably not.
But now we do.
So where do we go from here? I think we would have to be prepared to change a lot of city names across the country. Because once we start digging we’ll find an intense amount of atrocities by a lot of people we have been taught to idolize.
I believe we need to review our nation’s curriculum for K-12. The history of Black Americans, Latina Americans, female Americans and LGBTQ+ Americans are footnotes. And that is unacceptable and also a total loss to all of us.
When I started my group for women in digital it was in June of 2016, just before the rise of the #metoo movement. I had no idea our moment would become a movement.
After the group took off and took hold of my life I started reading a lot on the history of the women’s movement in the United States. I was shocked at how much I didn’t know before. I was shocked at how much of our history as women is simply not mentioned. One name: Victoria Woodhull. Google her. You’ll be amazed, and she was born in OH-12.
The story of America has largely centered around white men and their rise to power.
We can’t erase that and we can’t take it back. But today, on Juneteenth, we can all dedicate ourselves to learning something new about the history of black America. We can promise our black brothers and sisters that we will educate our children and their children. We can push for curriculum updates, criminal justice reform and community reinvestment, and we can all wake up to a brighter tomorrow.
A tomorrow in which we see each other wholly and in our entirety: as flawed, imperfect people who are ancestors of flawed, imperfect people. And today we can denounce racism of any kind and we can denounce our President who continues to fan the flames of hatred.
Today he tweeted this, “any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis. It will be a much different scene!”
I have a hard time imagining how my opponent can hold his office and not denounce Trump’s behavior and clear threats of violence against others. I just can’t get my head around it… and that’s why we will defeat Troy Balderson and Trump on November 3rd.
This country is moving forward and you’re either with us, or you’ll be left in the dust.
A few to-do’s for this weekend:
Sign the petition to make Juneteenth a national holiday. https://blacklivesmatter.com/make-juneteenth-a-national-holiday/
Suggested Netflix watch this weekend: Self-Made, the story of CJ Walker, the first female millionaire in America. It’s incredible! And also Glory is free to rent on iTunes.
Also, there are numerous Juneteenth celebrations across the district. Please follow our social pages for updates. We will be at as many as we are able.
Cheers to the future, everyone. There will be light once we can move through the darkness of the reality of our nation’s past.
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