Kessler Women’s Healthcare will be open on Juneteenth to continue to serve our diverse community of patients. Our staff will be wearing red to celebrate resilience and freedom. As Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture museum specialist and oral historian Kelly Navies puts it “Each year when my family celebrates Juneteenth, our flyers boldly request that each guest bring something “Red.” We then add examples, like red soda pop, watermelon, apples, or even red beans. Folks bring these items without much thinking about their origin. In fact, the roots of the symbolic efficacy of the color red can be traced to West Africa, where it has been associated with strength, spirituality, life, and death. Furthermore, culinary historians, trace the color to certain foods that traveled to the Americas along with the Africans during the trans-Atlantic slave trade, such as hibiscus and the kola nut.
So, this year at Juneteenth, as you take a long swallow from a cool drink of hibiscus iced tea, or red punch, remember the ancestors who sacrificed, remember the blood shed in the struggle, remember the collective strength of people of the African diaspora, and finally remember the spirituality and transcendent joy that enabled us to overcome.