Dear Friends of WTLC,
With Juneteenth just a few weeks ago and Independence Day right around the corner, maybe it’s no surprise that freedom has been on my mind lately. For many Americans, freedom is a fundamental aspect of our cultural identity.
The 4th of July celebrates the day America’s founders signed the Declaration of Independence, announcing freedom from British rule. On that day, the United States of America came into being, free from what our founders considered the tyrannical rule of Great Britain.
Juneteenth also celebrates freedom, but in a very different context. This day is both a celebration of the end of slavery and a reminder of the insidious nature of white supremacy. June 19th does not mark the day that slavery ended, but rather the day that enslaved people in Texas learned they were free – over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.
In our work with survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, we see time and again that independence is key. Abuse is fundamentally about maintaining control over another person, whether this is through physical pain, emotional manipulation, restricting of finances, sexual exploitation, or fear. The survivors in our programs have had to fight to find freedom from abuse and regain their independence.
Thank you for your commitment to helping those in our programs find freedom from violence and exploitation each day. I wish you a very happy Independence Day.