Juneteenth is a whitewash. Slavery did not end: its name was changed. Indentured servants still work for nothing to pay off slave owners.
Slavery did not end. It still exists in this country in the form of servitude on farms, and those forced into the sex trades, and beauty shops, and nail salons. These women speak little to no English and work out of (and in) fear. People know these shops are slave shops. We have all been educated on the issue, but do nothing about it anyway. We need to stop whitewashing the heinous crimes of modern slavery.
We all jump for joy over this new holiday but continue to support slavery in our everyday buying of goods and services. Corporations continue to operate farms in Baja, Mexico, California, Washington, and Florida, just to name a few. State-side migrants earn just enough to get to the next farm after their fees are paid.
In Mexico, workers are recruited from the cities with promises of a better life, only to be sent to the middle of nowhere and forced to work on farms, with only cardboard shacks for shelter and beans, rice and tortillas as their only pay. In every store, the information as to where the fresh produce and food comes from is available. We have choices. We can demand that our grocery stores or chains verify that a supplier offers fair wages to its workers.
I have seen these corporate farms for myself. I was once in the green industry, contracting for irrigation jobs. It was wrong and I stopped doing it over 30 years ago. I would not support this behavior. Later, as a manager in a large landscape company, I offered legal aliens family-wage jobs; no more or less than their American counterparts.
For more information on the invisible slavery right in front of our faces, visit Truckers Against Trafficking (truckersagainsttrafficking.org/), Anti-Slavery International (www.antislavery.org/), Hope for Justice (hopeforjustice.org/) and more. These are just a few resources.
Will you stop being comfortably numb and continue to promote this crime through the purchase of cheap, easily available food? Or will you use your purchasing power to seek change?
The American consumer drives the world’s economic engine. It we demand a stop to modern slavery by refusing to purchase goods produced by slave labor, it will cause a domino effect around the world. An end to slavery means looking at labels and demanding only slavery-free products and services. It means being involved as a consumer.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “No one is free until we are all free.” Well then, we still have a long way to go, don’t we?