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From the Pitch - Juneteenth

By Amobi Okugo, 06/17/21, 2:15PM EDT



Author - Amobi Okugo
Amobi Okugo
Austin Bold FC
June 17, 2021

I’m going to be honest with you… Growing up, I didn’t know much about Juneteenth.

As a first-generation Nigerian American, my parents emigrated to the United States and in my household, we were more familiar with the African experience than we were the American one. There are some similarities, of course, but it took time for me to listen, learn and familiarize myself with the history of racial injustice in this country. Perhaps many of you today are in the same situation.

If you take anything from this story, I want you to know you’re not alone. I support you.

Even for a black man, like myself, education is continual. Every day we wake up and aspire to something better. If you’re a stronger, more compassionate, more empathetic person today than you were yesterday – I can rock with you. But that knowledge, compassion and empathy does not come easy. You have to be intentional about it.

Listen to me for a second…

Learning takes effort.

Activism is hard

It’s not just a tweet or a post on IG.

You have to really care.

That’s one of the things that the Black Lives Matter movement taught us. That in order to effectuate change – real, meaningful change – we had to get to the root cause of our injustice. Band-aids were not enough. Temporary awareness was not enough. Collectively, we had to look at ourselves in the eye and come to terms with what truly ails us.

As we sit here today, we’re still grappling as a society with our country’s original sin. Slavery in the United States is something we’re still coming to grips with. Especially considering that its lasting effects are still very much with us today in the form of systemic injustices, and the suppression of those who need us the most. If you can’t see it, you’re probably not trying. Or you’re so insulated from those realities that you don’t want to. Either way, we need more from you.

There’s a saying that history is written by the victors. But the truth is, history is written by those that tell their stories. And in some ways, I think Juneteenth is an opportunity for the black community to finally tell our own story – the way that it needs to be told.

It’s both a celebration of the end to a horrific chapter in our history, as well as an opportunity to educate ourselves so we can better address its lasting consequences.

We’ve made progress, but not enough.

The real work still lies ahead of us.

So, let’s use this Juneteenth not just as a chance to reflect, but also to act. Let’s use this Juneteenth as a chance to change the world around us.


First, take the time to learn and educate yourself about the black experience. Then, think about how we can apply those learnings to make our community a better place.

I hope to celebrate this Juneteenth with some local community groups here in Austin. To recognize and commemorate a special day in our culture while also surrounding myself with people who are willing to dedicate part of their lives to addressing the inequities that are still around today.  

Those who are doing the most don’t pretend to know all the answers, but they’re willing to fight for what they know is right.

I believe we’re at an inflection point in our society. And at that inflection point, hard choices have to be made. Are you going to put in the effort? Are you going to fight? Are you going to be an ally? Or are you just going to sit back and stay in your comfort zone?

I hope you make the right decision. I hope you’re willing to stand up for those who need your support.

And remember…

Learning takes effort.

Activism is hard. 

You have to really care.

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