Conversations with My Daughter: Racial Justice and Democracy this Juneteenth

Since the inception of this country, Black Americans have been at the forefront of building a stronger and more inclusive democracy. Critical moments in history have moved us closer toward the progression of the Black community and of an America that has been promised to us all.

Juneteenth is one of those moments. 

Juneteenth is the celebration of the hard-earned and deserved freedom of Black people, honoring those who endured the pains of enslavement, and reminded us of America’s complicated history. A history that continues to be complicated and requires us to continue the fight for our freedoms.

The most challenging part of being a mom in this current space and moment is having to explain to my daughter what Black Lives Matter means — and why we need to say that phrase at all.  

When the Black Lives Matter movement became mainstream, my daughter was just four years old. It was not the timeline I would’ve preferred to start that conversation, but that was just the reality. I don’t subscribe to overburdening a child with the weight of those discussions, but it’s simply impossible to ignore.

We continue to endure mass incarceration, police brutality, and face bad faith actors who are threatening to take away our voices. It becomes a lot, and I don’t want to make my daughter scared, sad or angry. So it becomes a balancing act, trying to make sure she understands the world we are in while not making it seem like a horrific place.

That’s what makes these talks challenging: trying to explain that in America, the color of someone’s skin determines how you’re treated in many cases. And it’s almost impossible to explain — how we’ve gained so much freedom and yet still have to fight for it.

That’s why this Juneteenth reinforces that the work is far from being done.

In the democracy space, we’ve seen how lawless lawmakers have fought to pass anti-voter laws that prevent Black communities and our most vulnerable from exercising their rights. Despite these attacks, Black Americans have been critical to democracy’s success because of their resilience — but they can’t do it alone.

The vision of Common Cause is simple: hold power accountable. And it’s time for us and our allies to stick to our word. 

From calling for a comprehensive bill that protects our right to democracy to defending our most vulnerable from suppression, we must stick together. Because voting rights don’t belong to one political party, race or class — they belong to everyone.

When I think about the future, I want my daughter to see a system where the structures actually work to represent the people’s best interests. 

I want my daughter to see elected officials who she can trust are doing their best to represent people like her and not the special interests. 

This Juneteenth, I want the democracy my daughter lives in to be one where the government reflects the people it serves. 

I know there are other parents across the country who want to see us move forward — who want to join Common Cause and build on the victories secured by Black Americans on Juneteenth and beyond.

That’s why I’m in this fight; to protect and expand the freedoms of the Black community every day.