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Jun 16, 2021

Thursday, Jul 29, 2021 - 17:37:19

How to talk to your kids about Juneteenth

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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- All this week we've been talking about the significance of Juneteenth when news that slavery had ended finally reached people in Texas. It's a conversation that until recently many families haven't had with their children.

In the mid-1800s, the world's largest commodity was cotton.

America's economic growth depended largely on slavery.

"The reason that Southerners fought so hard to maintain the status quo was because of the free labor," expressed Delores Nochi Cooper, coordinator of the Berkeley Juneteenth Festival.

June 19, 1865, marks the end of slavery in America. Aside from African Americans, it's a conversation that many other families don't have. So how do you start the conversation with your children? Many suggest starting by opening some minds.

RELATED: Our America: Meet Opal Lee, the grandmother of Juneteenth

Marcus Books in Oakland specializes in titles by and about black people. There are books for every age on Juneteenth.

"You can have these conversations, even 2-year-olds get the concept of fair and unfair," said Beverly Daniel Tatum.

She is the author of the book "Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?"

Tatum began discussing slavery with her then 4-year-old son while she was listing the many attributes of the African people.

"Then he interrupted and he said, 'If Africa is so great, what are we doing here?' And I couldn't answer that without talking about slavery," she added.

RELATED: Juneteenth food traditions: How red plays role in celebratory cuisine

"When I learned about it, I was kind of shocked that I hadn't heard about it and my dad's family is from Texas," said San Francisco parent Josh Donald.

He told us he had a moral obligation to discuss the significance of Juneteenth with his three children.

We asked Donald how to start a conversation with younger kids.

"Ask them if they've heard of Juneteenth, did they talk about Juneteenth in school?" he suggested.

He says that initial dialogue has lead to more substantial conversations about race and social justice.

"History of post-Civil War, the origins of Jim Crow and stuff, and what remnants of that are still around today," added Donald.

RELATED: Black hymns: The legacy left by the enslaved honored on Juneteenth and every day

Donald also owns Bernal Cutlery. He now donates money to a few causes from the sales he makes on Juneteenth.

"So there are a bunch of other avenues into reading about anti-racism," said Camden Avery of Booksmith in the Haight Ashbury District of San Francisco. "There have been a bunch over the last year and a half to two years."

Book store owners suggest that while we're having these conversations with children, it's important for adults to have their own racial reckoning.

In Berkeley, the Juneteenth festival has been around since 1986 to bring awareness of African American history. Its director says it's now more relevant than ever.

"Their resilience that they survived, all of that, celebrating the contributions that African Americans have made to the fabric of America," said Cooper.

RELATED: How people came to celebrate Juneteenth in the United States

It was graduation day at Skyline High School in Oakland and many of these students told us that lifting each other up will always have positive implications.

"It's not secluded to one race; it's a celebration for everybody," said Alexus Birks who just graduated from Skyline. "It's putting people of color on a bigger platform."

"We have the highest graduation rate with Black students this year and it just shows what we've achieved this year," Jessica Ramos, a graduating senior said.

"We all should agree that we are one people, that we are born equal and God sees us equal in his eyes," said Cooper.

She and others offered some advice. When starting the conversation it's important to acknowledge the quote that says, "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."

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Tags: feel good stories juneteenth community events black lives matter black freedom slavery black history race in america juneteenth race and culture feel good stories feel good stories it’s a conversation it’s a conversation a conversation it’s important important these conversations conversation african americans the conversation about juneteenth san francisco on juneteenth juneteenth talking that we said cooper

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Bipartisan Uighur Caucus formed to check China on human rights abuses

More On: uighurs China’s prez warns bullies will ‘face broken heads and bloodshed’ On the centenary of the Chinese Communist Party, the West must kowtow no more Biden decries torture as a ‘stain on our conscience’ — without naming China China inks deal with Hilton to build hotel over bulldozed Uyghur mosque: report

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers have announced the creation of the Congressional Uighur Caucus, intended to keep the Chinese Community Party accountable for its human rights violations against the Uighur people. 

Led by Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi of New York and Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, the caucus’ goal is to “support legislation aimed at addressing the largest coordinated human rights abuse campaign of the 21st century,” the group said. The news of the caucus was first reported by Axios. 

“Products you buy from China that were manufactured with forced labor are cheaper, Souzzi told the outlet. “So, people are gonna say, ‘Oh my gosh, if we don’t do business with Xinjiang, the cost of products go up.’”

“Well, that’s too damn bad, he added. “This should shock everyone’s conscience.”

In the announcement, Smith called the internment of the Uighur people and other predominantly-Muslim ethnic minorities “egregious crimes.”

Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY) and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) are leading the caucus that aims to hold China accountable for the “egregious crimes” committed against Uighur and Muslim minorities.Wang Baosheng/ via Getty Images

“The United States cannot be silent as Xi Jinping tortures and seeks to eradicate an entire population,” he said. “In solidarity with the oppressed, the Uyghur Caucus will call attention to the Communist Chinese government’s atrocious human rights violations in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and work to end one of the world’s worst human rights tragedies.”

In addition to forced labor, the Chinese government has been accused of enslaving about 1 million Uighur Muslims and subjecting them to rape, forced sterilizations and other brutalities.

Executive director for the Campaign for Uighurs, Rushan Abbas, praised the caucus’s creation saying, “These atrocities, this genocide, requires a response that is proportional to its depravity.”

An Uighur couple walk in Kashgar in China’s northwest Xinjiang region.GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images

“With this Caucus, we now have a way to organize our allies in the United States, and turn activism into concrete policy actions that address this unspeakable crime,” Abbas added. “Together, we will see this genocide ended, and those responsible brought to justice.”

Filed under china ,  human rights ,  muslims ,  uighurs ,  us house of representatives ,  7/29/21

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