Las Vegas, NV — It is no secret that 2020 ripped through a lot of marginalized communities and we are still seeing the after effects within those communities. I've noticed that major holidays no longer bring Black families together in the same way they used to. While I've been watching from afar, I've also been told about this by friends and family members equally.
What is the cause of this absence of family gatherings?
There are plenty of possible explanations for why family get-togethers aren't happening as frequently as they once did. When you hear the word "pandemic," it's natural for your mind to quickly turn to concerns about health and safety. Even before there was a COVID-19, many people in the Black community were already playing catch-up.
In many ways, we got good at hiding the problems they had with themselves and with the people around them. When you add in the fact that we all had to live in isolation, you can see that this did one of two things: it either brought people together or split them up. Many lost loved ones without any closure to their grievances or to say goodbye as they died from complications due to COVID. This caused a strain on many families. Over the past several holidays, it was evident that certain relationships were in danger.
I have not observed a decline of this magnitude over major holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Disconnection has been far more noticeable during holidays such as Easter and the Fourth of July.
Easter is primarily a holiday for children to go Easter egg hunting, but I've noticed far less of that in recent years. When it comes to July 4th, I can see why so many Black people are now opposed to it in many ways. When you live in a country that continues to kill you and imprison you, it is difficult to celebrate the country. Even with that fact looming over the holiday, Black people never missed out on the chance to get together.
We also now celebrate our independence earlier on June 19 – Juneteenth. I’ve seen many large-scale celebrations for Juneteenth, but not not many by families as a tradition.
Another factor that can be considered in this growing problem is the fact that the Black community continues to face increasing financial difficulties. Some cannot afford or do not want to contribute to making these holidays what they are.
With the possibility of the United States going into a recession, I don't see things improving anytime soon. To be honest, I don't have any solutions to this growing problem. I just hope that the Black community is not witnessing the slow demise of holidays.