SiriusXM Urban View host Mike Muse led a special panel discussion to celebrate, educate, and increase cultural awareness surrounding Juneteenth and garner awareness for the “Juneteenth Inaugural Unityfest Event” on Saturday, June 19th. The virtual one-hour special featured respected voices from the worlds of politics, media, academia, community activism, and entertainment who shared insights and perspectives regarding the importance of Juneteenth. Panel guests included:
- Trae tha Truth – 2021 recipient of Billboard Changemaker Award for his social activism. American rapper, songwriter, record executive and activist from Houston, Texas says you “don’t have to be qualified” to have a voice and shares how he’s “always spoke up” for his people: “Sometimes you have to step up and get involved. Like when I leave the house, from whether it’s for George Floyd, or Breonna Taylor, or anybody I understand there’s a chance I’m not coming back home and I’m prepared for that for my people.”
- Phylicia Rashad – Famed American actress, singer, stage director, and newly appointed Dean of Fine Arts at Howard University. Participant in the Juneteenth Unityfest event reflects on the world uniting to stand for human rights and said “One of the most gratifying days in life that I remember was at the heels of the George Floyd tragedy. And that was the day that people around the world, without a single leader, without an organization, without an arranged affair, came out into their streets, wherever they were in the world to stand for the dignity of every human being..That was the day that the light shone brightly. The light in every human heart..That was a day and there was no political agenda, there was no political party, there was no self-interest group, nobody funded anything. The people came out because of the light in their hearts to stand for the decency of humanity. I was so grateful to see that day.”
- Ms. Opal Lee – The 94-year-old activist and lifelong Texan who has campaigned to make June 19th a national holiday for years talks about Juneteenth’s inclusive empowerment: “It’s more than a festival..and it’s more than just black families. We’ve come a long way, but we got a hell of a long way to go, and that’s a fact.”
- Robert Randolph – Grammy-nominated artist and creator of the star-studded ‘live’ Inaugural Juneteenth Unityfest Eventthat will be streamed globally on Saturday, June 19th talks about the creation of Juneteenth Unityfest.
- April Ryan – White House Correspondent, CNN Political Analyst, D.C. Bureau Chief for TheGrio, author, and speaker comments on the lack of apologies for the atrocities inflicted on Black Americans: “The wrong has not been corrected. There’ve been apologies to so many communities for issues, the atrocities that happened to them, however, we are still uncovering, discovering, and pushing, but not knowing what to be done to change the dynamic..We have to understand that we are that part of history that I founding fathers talked about. They didn’t imagine us being a part of it, but when they say we the people, we are we the people. And we are still forming a more perfect union.. We cannot be afraid to correct the wrongs.”
- Dr. Daina Ramey Berry – Chairperson of the History Department at University of Texas at Austin with a PhD in African American Studies speaks about uncovering the gruesome history of black bodies in medicine: “I think, the thing that surprised me in the last five years was to learn that after enslaved people died, some of their bodies were sold as part of a cadaver trade, and they were sold to medical schools for anatomical research. And that floored me because I didn’t understand why I had not learned that in graduate school. I didn’t understand why that was not part of history books. It’s not a pleasant memory. It’s not a pleasant history, but people use our bodies to learn about human anatomy and most medical students for the first 30 or 40 years of medical school research were learning on black bodies.”
The special airs on Saturday at 2:00pm and Sunday at 11:00am ET on SiriusXM Urban View, channel 126.