This Juneteenth: Emancipate History to Make Way for A New Future in Los Angeles

(Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 92)

On June 19th, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, General Gordon Granger for President Lincoln’s Union army issued an order to the people of Texas from Galveston, Texas:

The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”

Why does this matter in Los Angeles, California, which wasn’t even a part of the U.S. northern states until 1848? Because chattel slavery in the United States, more than anything, was an economic condition, in which masses of laborers toiled daily for next to nothing as a small handful of masters profited immensely in a system enforced by laws, armed forces, and lies.

155 years later, today the relation between labor and profit is still a shining model of masses toiling daily for little return while CEOs like Jeff Bezos stand to make over a trillion dollars. Closer to home, one can find a myriad of bodies at countless L.A. kitchens, delivery, transportation and sanitation services, and at warehouses and factories, where sometimes workers produce for as little as $4.66 an hour, and where sometimes they’re not even properly paid that.

It’s clear then that we’re much closer to the past than it might seem, Los Angeles. But once we learn it, it’s also true that we’re that much closer to the better future we can aspire to.

J.T.

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Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 47

This upcoming Sunday will mark Mother’s Day 2020. I’m taking mom out for some chile relleno, even if it still has to be takeout. Earlier today, I was stopped in my tracks when I heard LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner recognizing his own mother as the catalyst for his life in education during his weekly address for parents and families in L.A.:

The most important teacher in my life was my mom. She helped thousands of public school kids learn to read, including me. The love of reading she taught me led to a love of learning, which is with me today, as I try to better understand the world around me. Thank you, Mom.”

Austin Beutner

Let’s leave it simply at that for today, Los Angeles.

J.T.

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