Now that Juneteenth, also called Freedom Day or Black Independence Day, is a federal holiday, we must celebrate it for what it recognize: the end of slavery in the United States, and not let it be seen as just another day off work.
Although slavery did officially end in the U.S. in 1865, the historical impact of this practice has been deeply embedded in our society. This impact is seen by the Jim Crow and segregation era, redlining and housing discrimination, the prison industrial complex, and countless acts of nonsensical violence committed against Black Americans stemming across generations.
To me, the observation of Juneteenth symbolizes the reflection and celebration of our resilience in the face of constant adversity.
Focus on what freedom means
One of the best ways to honor this day is by focusing on what freedom means today in our country. Although personal freedom is undoubtedly the most basic right, we should strive for a level of financial freedom as it is the ultimate way to protect our families and future generations.
When I think of financial freedom, I believe using tools such as life insurance, disability income, long-term care insurance, retirement and estate planning, and essential banking services can be helpful as we strive to bridge the wealth gap in America.
There is a stigma among many communities that these products are unattainable because of the associated cost, although there are many options to suit most income levels. Notably, strategic financial planning and exploring the benefits of the products mentioned above can increase a family’s and business’s protection from unexpected losses that otherwise, without the security, could lead to financial devastation.
Lay the bricks of education
I am hopeful we will observe financial progress in the coming years. To achieve this, we must continue to lay the bricks of education and practices on the foundation that the generations have set before us.
We all know the famous and endeared “I Have a Dream” speech by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, which is appreciated for its optimistic outlook on unifying all races throughout America. However, I encourage you to watch one of King’s final interviews with NBC News reporter Sander Vanocur in 1967, where he discusses a “new phase” of the fight for civil rights and calls for a “revolution of values.” In King’s opinion, the fight for equality starts with economics. If we take the time to continuously educate ourselves and our loved ones financially, we can set the coming generations up for a successful future and pass the baton in the race to equality.
In conclusion, to my fellow Black and ally financial professionals, take pride in what you do. Continue to educate your loved ones and community. Happy Juneteenth!
Jay Wilkerson is an internal wholesaler at Crump Life Insurance Services. He may be contacted at [email protected].