A Moment, A Movement

HMS commemorates Juneteenth, collectively envisions ‘new beginning’

HMS/HSDM Virtual Breakfast and Community Gathering in honor of Juneteenth

In their own words

  • Tiara Lacey

    PhD Candidate, Harvard Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program
    "Freedom is never really won"

    Tiara Lacey

    "Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation."

    -Coretta Scott King

  • LaShyra “Lash” Nolen

    MD Candidate, HMS/HSDM Student Council President
    "Juneteenth - A movement, not a moment"

    LaShyra “Lash” Nolen

    Fourth of July used to be my favorite holiday.
    Hues of red, white and blue, watermelon triangles, and barbeque were the highlights of my day. Fireworks would light the night sky and I would feel alive, that was until I learned it was all a lie. Because the celebration that filled the air was not for me, just like it wasn’t 400 years ago for my ancestors during chattel slavery.
    Or the Indigenous peoples, whose land we occupy as I speak.
    I’ll never understand why this country fails to acknowledge those they mistreat.

    See July 4th, 1776 was the day they taught me to celebrate.

    By they I mean my white schoolteachers and textbooks, let’s get that straight.
    It was my family who taught me that freedom for them and us, did not equate.
    Even if it was to the same God to whom we both prayed.
    Because while white families scheduled grand dinners to commemorate their freedom, it was my ancestors who were the ones forced to feed them.

    For some the constitution was their solution, for my people it only solidified their inferior stature in this institution. For example, 16 years later they were forced to build the White House. The same one 45 lives in, along with the hate so readily espoused.

    June 19, 1865 was the true start of our freedom story. Today we celebrate Juneteenth, as if it’s okay we waited 155 years to ignore it. Like we ignore the disruption of families, children left alone their guardians deported. This level of erasure we can no longer condone it.

    While today is one of a celebratory mood. I mean it’s Juneteenth, I know my grandparents gone get they groove. We still must remember that for true Black liberation to be achieved there is still so much work to do. These names will remind of us of that, as I conclude:

    The Charleston 9
    Ahmaud Arbery
    Brionna Taylor
    George Floyd
    Tony Mcdade
    Rayshard Brooks
    Robert Fuller
    Malcolm Harsch
    Oluwatoyin Ruth "Toyin" Salau

    Today needs to be a movement not a moment, because July 4th never gave us our freedom and we’re still waiting on it.

  • Rhea Boyd

    Pediatrician and child health advocate
    "On freedom"

    Rhea Boyd

    On freedom

    Ask me about my grandmother and Ill tell you about her hands

    How they crinkled like pillows under the weight of our heads

    How they fed me into womanhood and covered my future in prayer

    How they carried me

    And cared for me

    And carved space for me - in this world


    Ask me about my mother and Ill tell you about her side

    How I fit in there

    How it covered me

    How warm it is

    How I belong to it


    Ask me about my sister and Ill tell you about her arms

    How they fought for me

    And pushed for me

    How they stretched over me like umbrellas and under me like a swing

    How they protect me


    Ask me about my father and Ill tell you about his chest

    How it rises to greet me

    And swells to guard me

    And softens to hear me

    And hardens to support my feet - in this world


    This moment of freedom - this joyous occasion which we now celebrate

    This freedom that was carried down to the shores of Texas on the back of our nations patriots

    This freedom was not granted

    It was taken

    By hands like my grandmothers, and from sides like my mothers,

    This freedom was lifted in arms like my sisters, and floated on chests like my fathers


    Ask me about this freedom and Ill tell you about the people who have

    nourished me, and guided me,

    protected me and prayed for me,

    And loved me - into this time, now

    Into this freedom, here


    This freedom was sown in the long nights of darkness by the wise people who knew


    O joy, always comes in the morning.


    Woke up this morning with my mind, stayed on freedomhallelu hallelu, hallelujah