Forgive my blather but I can’t just say “Happy Juneteenth” and walk away.
I have trouble saying “Happy” Juneteenth. God knows people of African descent in the U.S. deserve all the respect in the world for what they have accomplished in the 155 years since this bare minimum of decency was afforded them. But they have had to accomplish all those things despite the concerted efforts of white people in power to stop them, beginning with the tiniest of microaggressions up to and including murder. Murder over and over and over again. I just can’t stress enough how fucking heartbreaking this is to me. And I can’t possibly know how much MORE heartbreaking it is to the Black community.
Juneteenth was the end of slavery, but even then, your ancestors in Texas were screwed over, because they’d been forced to work for TWO MORE YEARS—seven hundred and thirty days in shackles—because the bosses still wanted to steal their labour.
Yay for your freedom! Which we took from you! Which we kept taking from you every single day and in every single way we could! Yay for the codified and legally mandated system of racism and bias that has kept so many black communities in every single kind of poverty, including in food, education, and income, because of redlining and gerrymandering and other insidious acts by white people in power! Yay for pretending this doesn’t exist or that we’re woke because we suddenly learned what Juneteenth was yesterday! Yay for people remembering to lift up black voices for two weeks and then going back to their regularly (whitely) scheduled programming!
What I want to say is, I’m sorry that you have to fight and fight and fight, every single day, for what I get so easily. It shouldn’t be that way. And since silence is complicity, I will not be silent. So when I see instances of bias, I will call them out. I will not be “nice.” I will listen to you. I will not tell you what you need or what you should or shouldn’t say. Your dignity is important to me, and whatever I can do to lift your voice, I will.
It’s not enough, but until this country (and several others) genuinely atones for the monstrousness of slavery, it’s all I can think of.
Graphic from Canva.
And what else is a blog for, even if you've been busy for 2 1/2 years, but to say your piece?
Yes, I am taking time out from skipping around the room to report that I am now officially represented by the inimitable Veronica Park of the Corvisiero Agency! I can't wait to embark on this next stage of my journey with her (when I've climbed down from these giddy heights, that is).
I'm thrilled and humbled to report that I (well, my alter ego) have won first place in Wisconsin RWA's Fab Five Contest! My manuscript Breathe won in the Single-Title category. Bragging not being my strong suit I'll just say wheeeeeeee!
Some of you may have seen a recent article on NJ.com listing the 12 worst things about living in New Jersey. As a member of a country where self-deprecation is the law, I approve. But the article has prodded me to a defense of my adopted state, prodded me so successfully I even want to write it down and post it (and spell defense the American way even though it makes my teeth hurt). It’s like a letter to the newspaper, only I am the newspaper and there are about three readers. But still.
I feel I am uniquely qualified to defend the Garden State because:
Now I didn’t want to do this so early, because this blog is going to be light and entertaining and not controversial in any way (unless you’re going to tell me Lipton makes good tea, in which case, pistols at dawn, sirrah). But there comes a time when even a cynical Englishwoman must make a stand. And I’ve decided to do it over chocolate. Which is funny because I’m not even that much of a chocolate eater. Ah, the irony. Well, if they start trying to ban PG Tips you can all watch me really let loose.
Kimberley Ash is a British ex-pat who has lived in and loved New Jersey for twenty years. When not writing romance, she can usually be found cleaning up after her two big white furry dogs and slightly less furry children. Her first novel, Breathe, is now available from Crimson Romance. Her trilogy, The Van Allen Brothers, was released by Tule Publishing in 2019.