On June 17, 2021, Juneteenth became the 11th U.S. federal holiday after decades of work by citizens. The holiday, which has been celebrated by Black communities since 1866, recognizes the date on which the last enslaved people in the U.S. heard the news of the Emancipation Proclamation. Here, Aundrea Sayrie—a poet, spoken word artist, and all around force for justice and beauty who lives in Three Rivers—offers a poem in commemoration.


By Aundrea Sayrie

The Emancipation Proclamation declares that all persons held as slaves within the rebellious states are and henceforward shall be free

Lincoln Set it off
And with the 13th it was accomplished

Slavery in the United States
Was declared to be abolished

But some us didn’t get the addendum
Walking around exhibiting signs of Stockholm syndrome

The ancestors didn’t suffer for that

They were stolen, bought, and sold
Every intimate part exposed
Obligated to fulfill every law imposed

They bled, filling sacks, under blistering suns
With babies on their backs

They were raped, they were chained, they were hung, they were maimed

Cruel and unusual punishment
The nature of their of the penalties
They were stripped of their identities
Nurtured the young of their enemies

BUT, their stronghold had a limit
Broken maybe,
but, they couldn’t destroy their spirits

Freedom riddled in quilts, braids, and lyrics

They would set us free again
They marched, and were martyrs,
For you, your sons, and daughters
They wept, and still pursued danger
Our destiny reconstructed by these game changers
Tubman, Robert Elliot, Frederick Douglas, Hiram Revels,
Joseph Rainey, Martin R Delaney
And slew of other rebels

Even After ALL of that
Chile, Chile, Chile
Some of ya’ll not making the ancestors proud
Like I said before you missed the addendum
And are exhibiting signs of Stockholm syndrome


Last modified: June 18, 2021