Damita Miller-Shanklin

From the June Issue 2022

“If the cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. Because the goal of America is freedom, abused and scorned tho’ we may be, our destiny is tied up with America’s destiny.”- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader

June is a month of celebration and remembrance. Our ancestors withstood pain and grief so that the next generation could be free. The word freedom means many things to different people. When I look at our community today we are still fighting for our fundamental freedom. 

In the past, our ancestors fought for equality, the removal of shackles, and the right to make their own choices. They wanted to control what happened to them, their families, their bodies, and their future. Today, we are fighting for fundamental rights for women to control our bodies and be who they are, despite what society thinks. This fight can be another way of putting shackles on women despite their ethnic background. White men decided what slaves would be able to do and now they are in the process of making the same decisions on a different topic. They have no right to control anyone. I’m coming down from my soapbox. We have moved from the real shackles but we are still fighting for our freedom and basic rights. As the saying goes as things change, the more they stay the same.  

As Juneteenth is celebrated this year, I will be thinking of our ancestor’s fight for freedom so I can stand free. But we still have a fight. We are working to keep the symbolic shackles off but it is not easy. Celebrate the freedom of our past, while ensuring our freedom today. 

Embrace Your Community

Damita Miller-Shanklin


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