Juneteenth: Many African Americans living abroad say they won’t return to US
Black Americans living overseas see the Juneteenth holiday as an opportunity to educate people in their host countries on African American history and oppression against Blacks, the Associated Press said in a recent report.
Juneteenth, a portmanteau of June and 19th, commemorates the US abolition of slavery under President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.
Black Americans have been celebrating the holiday since the last enslaved people were told they were free in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865.
While there are no official statistics tracking Black Americans moving abroad, many are discussing it more openly. In the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing by a white police officer, many African Americans saw the US. “from the outside in” and made up their minds not to return.
Chrishan Wright in New Jersey regularly speaks with Black Americans who plan to or already have made the move abroad.
Wright, 47, hosts the podcast “Blaxit Global” and said many of her guests are tired of the US.
“They’ve done all the things to achieve what is supposed to be the American dream, and that yardstick keeps moving. They don’t feel like they’re on solid ground in terms of being able to retire comfortably or pay off student debt or just cover their bills.”
Wright plans to move to Portugal in 2023.
LaTonya Whitaker, from Mississippi, has lived in Japan for 17 years. She is executive director of Legacy Foundation Japan, an organization that connects all Black communities in Japan and works for the betterment of people of African descent, both in the United States and abroad.
Like Whitaker, many Black Americans at the Juneteenth event came to Japan almost by coincidence, as Christian missionaries or Peace Corps volunteers. But they made Japan their home.
She now wants to raise their son in Japan because she worries about gun violence in the US.