Salomone: Juneteenth and Today

Letter to the editor from Frank Salomone

June 19, 1865 was a great day in America as enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation took place to free people from enslavement. After the Civil War in the United States, people of African Descent faced incredible trials of Racism and Murder. For some, the war was not over. 

How did one get ahead in this environment? Booker T. Washington, a member of the Republican Party whom I greatly admire, tried a different tactic than other leaders. He sought to advance people through education and entrepreneurship. He built up an incredible network of middle class, church leaders, philanthropists, and politicians to advance people. 

The entrepreneurship aspect of an approach like this is very important. In my opinion, a goal for people should be to reach a level of economic independence or self-sufficiency, and we should have laws that support those that agree and believe in that statement. This is not a new idea, as Romans such as Cato the Elder recognized this, and pursued it. The more you can strengthen yourself against a possibility of Racism that can damage you economically, the more you can make it irrelevant to you. 

As a member of the Republican Town Committee, and the District Leader of District 1, I will be hosting political candidate meet and greets to address the issues of any legal or fiscal impediments to people of all races to be able to engage in entrepreneurship and achieve economic self-sufficiency. The benefits will be a stronger society, a way for racism to become irrelevant, and for people to thrive in freedom, not just survive. A good way to start can be to work off the existing model that Booker T. Washington created.

Let’s not think of June 19 as one day to recognize freedom, but rather as a time to reflect on how we advance it each and every day.