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Lynn James: Let us hope that 2020 will be the year the second half of the civil war ended

It’s that time of year again when fireworks are heard and seen going off every day and night (legal or not). That’s how we spend the weeks leading up to and following the celebration of our nation’s freedom from the submission – the bondage – of another country.

How appropriate that our country’s Independence Day takes place only two weeks after we celebrated the freedom of our fellow citizens from their bondage 157 years ago.

Yes, I’m talking about our other summer holiday – Juneteenth – June 19th, the day the final slaves were freed from bondage in Texas in 1865. It may not be a federal holiday yet, but it will be soon. And it’s about time.

This year other changes are happening too. Statues are coming down across our country, some more diplomatically than others. Aunt Jemima syrup bottles are getting a makeover and a new name. Changes coming soon to Uncle Ben’s rice too. And now everyone understands the true meaning of a noose and how disturbing and wrong hanging one any place is, as well hanging the Confederate flag. It’s about time.

No one can make the argument these changes are bad. We are all glad our country is free and that all people in our nation are free. We are happy (or at least can’t deny the appropriateness) that more signs and symbols of oppression are going away.

Why wouldn’t it be about time these changes occur?

These changes aren’t taking our country down the wrong path like some believe legalizing marijuana has. They aren’t causing more babies to be aborted which many view as the sin of the 20th century and are praying every day for its reversal.

Those are the controversial issues of today, not the freedom, equality and respect of all people in the United States. We were supposed to have resolved this issue in the 19th century – over 150 years ago.

But we didn’t. We could have by supporting and respecting communities like the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma. And by wanting to create more successful black communities like Greenwood instead of, in 1921, burning them to the ground, massacring the residents, and continuing the civil war.

At first, the community of Greenwood was an example that our nation had reversed a great wrong by witnessing this town, built by its black residents, prosper as the black wall street. Then Greenwood became an example of how we really didn’t end the civil war with its destruction by white Americans. Stopping that wrong now, well, it’s about time.

Stopping that wrong now won’t make things worse for anyone. Only better… for all of us.

Can everyone see it this way? Not yet, but they will. Future generations will read about the historical significance of 2020 and all will agree the changes were necessary, justified, and well overdue. Again, it’s about time.

Black OR White. Are those really the two sides? Not anymore.

There are many Whites standing with Blacks. Not only are we standing together, but we are also declaring the excuses for racist behavior are no longer acceptable. There are no shades of gray to hide behind.

We are Black AND White.

When a crowd of people watches a black man unjustly die under the power of a knee, are disgusted by what they see, and are powerless to stop it, we are all on the same side. And it’s no longer just one black man or woman in 2020. That number has always been greater than one and has continued to grow even within the last few weeks.

However, less than a month after the death by chokehold, a crowd of people walked beside a black man as he drove down the race track and supported him in abolishing the confederate flag at their events. That shows we are BLACK AND WHITE TOGETHER!

We all thought we would remember 2020 for the coronavirus. Surprise! The year 2020 will be remembered for something much more significant than that. We are witnessing what many hope is the end of the second half of our civil war.

Let’s all follow through with the promise of really ending that war this time around. A true and new Independence for our nation.

Lynn James is a lifelong resident of Northern Kentucky and has lived in Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties. She enjoys living and observing real life with real people.

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