Today is Juneteeth, commemorating the day in 1865 immediately after the Civil War when the end of slavery was announced in Galveston, Texas.  President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation three years earlier, but the Texas planters hadn’t exactly passed the word along.  When Union General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston to claim Texas back from the defeated Confederacy, he read out General Order No. 3, which managed in under 100 words to be both astoundingly grand (declaring “an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves”) and crushingly meek (“The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages.”).

Formerly enslaved African Americans in Texas did two things in rapid succession: threw a series of big ass parties across the state, and then for the next few years pooled money to buy communal land (now Emancipation Park) in the heart of Houston.  Emancipation Park was the site of massive Juneteenth celebrations for the next seventy years.

Compare, if you will, to what people say they will do if they win the lottery.  This sums it up: “When I win I am going to buy my own little mountain and have a little house on top.” (at 01:46).  Not much of a party up there by yourself in that little mountaintop house.

As January 1 is a day to make resolutions, Juneteenth is a day to ask: am I part of something that will one day create an Emancipation Park, or am I waiting to win the lottery to buy my mountaintop house?

Put in a hundred squats and have a happy Juneteenth, fabulous queerfitters!