By: Anne Price and Jhumpa Bhattacharya
June 19, 2023
Part of our promise to you, and ourselves, is to always keep it real at The Maven Collaborative. That’s why we have to be honest: we have conflicting feelings about Juneteenth.
Our mission includes centering race and joy in the pursuit of justice, so we are fully on board with the spirit of the day. But like too many things, the talk and the walk don’t match up. Our Co-founders Anne and Jhumpa summed up this tension in 2021.
That was two years ago, and precious little has changed. Black-led orgs working for racial justice still fight to get the crumbs of big money that disproportionately go to large, well-funded white-led orgs, Black people are not safe to go to the grocery store or get an address wrong, and anti-blackness continues to corrode our democracy.
We’re not out to yuck anyone’s yum, we just want to ensure we’re living our values as truth tellers. And the truth is, the rapid commodification of Juneteenth has taken us away from what the day is supposed to be about: Black liberation. To get there we have to move beyond empty celebrations and platitudes, tackle anti-blackness head on and create new systems and institutions that embrace Black people’s humanity. We must recognize that the marathon of eradicating anti-blackness is still in its first steps.
So how do we get to where we’re going faster? Projects like Black Future Newsstand — a collaboration between Black Thought Project & Media 2070 — shows us by centering Blackness and tapping into afrofuturism.
Black Future Newsstand explores the question: What does a media that loves Black people look, feel, sound, and taste like in a future where reparations are real? Co-creators Alicia M. Walters, The Maven Collaborative Centering Blackness Fellow, and Collette Watson from Media 2070 sum up the work necessary today in TIME magazine:
“If we are to successfully achieve racial justice, we need to create something that’s never existed before: A media system grounded in care as an antidote for harm. It’s not enough to celebrate Juneteenth and the emancipation from slavery as an abstract call to unity. We are facing the prospect of an entire generation being misled as to the true history of slavery and discrimination, and being doomed to repeat it.”
This Juneteenth, we are drawing upon Black imagination, creativity and joy to spark hope and actualize our potential to become an equitable society.