Juneteenth + The Pursuit of Happiness
This is a long post. I hope that you'll get comfy, take a seat, and read along.
"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.Declaration of Independence This post is about Juneteenth, but when thinking about freedom and all that's going on in the world, I cannot help but think about what is happening in Iran. We as humans have many things in common. One of the most fundamental is the need to be free. And it seems to be an eternal struggle. No matter what country we live in, there always seem to be some who want to oppress others. I believe that is a minority of people, however for some reason, they often seem to be the ones in power.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." Lord ActonI don't think that great people are always bad, but power certainly does seem to bring out the worst in many. Today is June 19th, also known as Juneteenth, which is "the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond."
Today, the United States Senate, through Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued a statement which reads in part,“We celebrate an important day in our history today; a day when our nation began anew and ended the oppressive practice of slavery. We commemorate the joy of those newly freed Americans and reflect upon the true value of our freedoms."
Yesterday, the Senate made history and formally apologized to African-Americans for slavery and segregation. You can read the Senate Resolution apologizing here. Below is a portion of the Resolution with some edits for clarity.
Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That the sense of the Congress is the following: APOLOGY FOR THE ENSLAVEMENT AND SEGREGATION OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS.As an African-American who is a descendant of slaves, I accept the apology. It's not all that can be done. The disclaimer is huge. Reparations are still an issue. But it does have meaning. If nothing else than for the history books.
The Congress acknowledges the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow laws; apologizes to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States, for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow laws; and expresses its recommitment to the principle that all people are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and calls on all people of the United States to work toward eliminating racial prejudices, injustices, and discrimination from our society.
DISCLAIMER.—Nothing in this resolution authorizes or supports any claim against the United States; or serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States.
I cannot imagine the pain and suffering that my ancestors went through in this country. But their suffering has given me the life that I now lead. I have the freedom to pursue happiness that they did not. So I am pursuing happiness vehemently. I owe it to them. Otherwise what did they suffer for? I don't know if they could have pictured my life in the future. And to think that I live in a United States with a black President!
Well, one of the things that makes me happy is the freedom to create. In my last post, I mentioned that I found a chair at a yard sale and was working on a DIY chair make-over. I finished! The picture above is before.
I used this DIY blog post from How About Orange to walk me through the directions. The process was surprisingly easy. The seat cover unscrewed very easily usuing a manual screwdriver. I was able to use a regular staple remover to take out the staples and remove the ugly vinyl covering.
From one of my last projects, I already had sandpaper to rough up the wood a bit. Then I cleaned off the dust and grime and put on primer that I bought at Home Depot. I also bought paint and a heavy duty staple gun. I admit that I was a little scared to use the staple gun. When I was little, I stapled my finger with a mini-stapler.
Well, my fear was for nothing. No stapling accidents! I bought the ready to use foam chair pad and cut it to fit the chair. I used about a yard of fabric and ironed it before stapling to the seat cover. Then I screwed the nails back into the newly covered seat cover and had a new chair!
How I chose the fabric is an interesting story. I had planned to buy some really pretty fabric by Jessica Jones that I saw on the blog that I mentioned before. She recently mentioned that she had a coupon for her readers if we ordered from a website that was newly carrying her line of fabric. When I checked, I couldn't find her fabric. As much as I love her fabric, it's not cheap. Plus there would be the cost of shipping.
Yesterday, I decided to look for some fabric in a store near me. While driving down Morrissey Boulevard a few months ago, I had noticed Sewfisticated Fabrics. So I decided to drive there.
When I walked in the door, the first thing that I noticed was a sign for some new African fabric that they had just received and had on sale. One fabric in particular really drew me in. I loved the colors, the design, and the feel of it. It resonated with me on a personal level. I looked around the store, but kept coming back to the same fabric. This was it. I knew it. I bought it.
As I was driving home yesterday, I thought about my fabric. Maybe it was something about it being African that was pulling me. Then I thought about it being Juneteenth today and knew that this was my Juneteenth chair. The thought makes me very happy.
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