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While I have your attention: Opal Lee

'Grandmother of Juneteenth'

DALLAS — In May of 2020, we handed over our platform to Black voices in our North Texas community through a series called “While I Have Your Attention.” 

Those courageous souls spoke out against racial bias, race based violence, and systemic racism.

We are continuing to turn our platform over to our family, friends, and neighbors to amplify even more voices in the struggle for equality in America.

We are honored to share the platform with the "Grandmother of Juneteenth," Opal Lee.

Opal Lee

"We've been brainwashed to believe that when you get to a certain age, you get into your rocking chair and wait for the Lord to call ya. Well he's gonna have to catch me, 'cus there's too much more to do.

"I taught third grade for so long. You got books that show people in the cotton field, smiling. We were able to tell the children, 'that's not true. I picked cotton. I know it's not true.'

"We had a Juneteenth in a tiny little sycamore park. Thirty-thousand people came, the paper said. And I'm not sure we knew what we was celebrating about. We found actually what happened: When Gen. Gordon Granger made his way to Galveston - what he did was nail this General Order No.3 to the door of what's now Reedy Chapel African-American Episcopal Church. The enslaved hadn't known they were free for two-and-a-half years. And I sort of felt like, we weren't remembering.

"The ultimate goal was for Juneteenth to become a national holiday. Surely, if a little old lady in tennis shoes is walking from here to Washington, someone would take notice. 

"I was invited all over these United States. I had to opportunity to go to the White House and meet so many extraordinary people who were on the same page I'm on.

"Now, we have to turn our attn to the disparities in our country. And I'm talking about joblessness, homelessness and schools that don't have textbooks that tell the truth...healthcare. Police brutality. Climate change.

"As a nation, we have to take the responsibility of making our country the very best country there is. Because we are a nation who can get things done. And we need to be the leader."

Credit: WFAA

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