I chose not to celebrate Juneteenth. It announces to the world: “This is the day that America stopped abusing some of her children.” If Juneteenth were a holiday in which America apologized for having abused some of her children for centuries, that would be worth celebrating. If Juneteenth were a holiday in which America proclaimed to the world that she was profoundly sorry and ashamed for what she did, that would be worth celebrating. If Juneteenth were a holiday in which America announced her plan to make things right in response to the millions of Black lives lost, that certainly would be worth celebrating. America still benefits from the fruits of her bloody soil. Until there is an honest reckoning, you can keep your empty gesture. Even a child knows the hurt does not heal until someone says “I’m sorry.”

Back to work, Black folk. Grow some wealth while America takes a play day.

Lauretta Carroll, Ashburn

As Eugene Robinson expressed in his June 18 op-ed, “Holidays are easy. Real progress is hard.,” “If Republicans want to convince us they are sincere in their stirring words about the importance of Juneteenth, let’s see them sign on to the voting-rights legislation that passed the House and now is being considered in the Senate.” 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) claim the high road in defending states’ rights against a federal power grab by the Democrats with this legislation that they will not even allow to come up for debate in the Senate. So if a state went further than the current outrageous laws that have been passed and passed new legislation banning LGBTQ citizens from voting — or all women and people of color? — would these gentlemen defend that state’s right to do so? Does not the federal government have a most sacred duty to ensure all citizens have both the right and the opportunity to vote?

Yes, support Juneteenth, Republican leaders, but do not expect anyone to swallow the myth of your sincerity in that support while you oppose bringing voting rights legislation for debate in the Senate and a subsequent roll-call vote by each senator, recorded for all to see in full public view.

Steven Brody, Arlington

Three cheers for Eugene Robinson for his op-ed on the new Juneteenth holiday. Unfortunately, in this materialistic culture, style often trumps substance. What’s flashy and glitzy is easier than real change or doing the hard analysis and work that result in deep, systemic change. 

Slavery and racism are deeply rooted in a capitalist economy and political system that rewards already-wealthy and mostly White men on the backs of women and people of color who are given stagnant wages and positions of little power. Critical race theory, a dirty phrase to many Republicans, is exactly what we need in our educational systems if this country is ever able to root out the inequitable disparities in our economic, educational, health and political systems.

That’s real substance over style. Window dressings, including a new holiday, don’t make social progress and advancement.

Joseph A. Izzo, Washington