Now that Juneteenth, also called Freedom Day or Black Independence Day, is a federal holiday, we must celebrate it for what it recognizes: the end of slavery in the United States, and not let it be seen as a another day off.
Although slavery officially ended in the United States in 1865, the historical impact of this practice has been deeply embedded in our society. This impact is visible through the era of Jim Crow and segregation, redline and housing discrimination, the prison industrial complex, and the countless acts of senseless violence committed against black Americans from generation to generation.
For me, observing Juneteenth symbolizes reflecting on and celebrating our resilience in the face of constant adversity.
Focus on what freedom means
One of the best ways to honor this day is to focus on what freedom means today in our country. While personal freedom is undoubtedly the most fundamental right, we must strive to achieve 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 think of using tools like life insurance, disability income, long-term care insurance, retirement and estate planning, and Essential banking services can come in handy as we strive to close America’s wealth gap.
There is a stigma among many communities that these products are inaccessible due to the cost associated, although there are many options to suit most income levels. In particular, strategic financial planning and exploring the benefits of the products mentioned above can increase the protection of a family and a business against unexpected losses which, without security, could lead to financial devastation.
Lay the bricks of education
I hope we will see financial progress in the years to come. To achieve this, we must continue to lay the bricks of education and practice on the foundations that generations before us have laid.
We are all familiar with the famous and beloved “I Have a Dream” speech by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, who is beloved for his optimistic vision for the unification of all races across 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” in the civil rights struggle and calls for a “revolution of values”. According to King, the fight for equality begins with the economy. If we take the time to continually educate ourselves and our loved ones financially, we can prepare future generations for a prosperous future and pass the baton in the race for equality.
In conclusion, to my black colleagues and allied finance professionals, be proud of what you do. Continue to educate your loved ones and your community. Happy June 10!
Jay Wilkerson is an in-house wholesaler at Crump Life Insurance Services. He can be contacted at [email protected].
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