Race relations expert says ‘every American’ should celebrate Juneteenth

Jun 19, 2024, 8:00 PM | Updated: 8:05 pm

Juneteenth, or Emancipation Day, commemorates the end of chattel slavery on June 19, 1865 in Galves...

Juneteenth, or Emancipation Day, commemorates the end of chattel slavery on June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas, in compliance with President Lincoln's 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

(Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Juneteenth is a day of celebrating for “every American — white, black or otherwise,” race relations expert Daryl Davis told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Chris & Joe Show on Wednesday, the fourth year of the United States observing the federal holiday.

The holiday celebrates the final emancipation of Confederate slaves after the Civil War, marking June 19, 1865 as the first-ever “Juneteenth.”

Davis told The Chris & Joe Show descendants of slaves should celebrate their freedom and descendants of slave owners should celebrate freedom from guilt.

“Those bondages can be physical like shackles, or they can be mental or emotional. Let’s free ourselves from that — white, black and otherwise — and then move forward together rather than try to hide that stuff. … Expose that stuff and then we move forward together.”

Davis, who wrote “Klan-destine Relationships: A Black Man’s Odyssey in the Ku Klux Klan,” gained notoriety for getting Klan members to give up their robes through his empathetic persuasive tactics.

“I’m a firm believer that a missed opportunity for dialogue is a missed opportunity for conflict resolution,” Davis explained. “So I start by finding out, what do we have in common? For example, we both might like James Bond. Where we differ is perhaps he likes Sean Connery (portraying Bond) and I like Roger Moore. But we both like James Bond.

“So you find these commonalities, and if you spend five minutes talking with your worst enemy, you’re gonna find something in common. Spend 10 minutes and you’ll find more, and eventually you have found more things in common than you have in contrast. And the trivial things you have in contrast like skin color … begin to matter less and less, then you begin thinking ‘Why did I hate this guy just because of the color of his skin?'”

His activism has led him to 53 countries on six continents. Everywhere he goes, he says people find a way to get along.

“Five things people want: they want to be loved, respected, heard, treated fairly and they want the same things for their family as you want for yours. … Those things are commonalities.”

Davis says listening is the first step in developing his compassionate approach.

“Have these conversations: ‘I cannot walk in your shoes, but tell me what it feels like.’ You’re giving someone an opportunity to explain to you what it’s like,” Davis said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Vice President Kamala Harris, shown in front of an Arizona flag during a Phoenix campaign stop in 2...

Kevin Stone

Arizona’s full slate of Democratic delegates pledges to support Kamala Harris

The Arizona Democratic Party's full slate of delegates formally pledged to support Kamala Harris’ presidential bid on Tuesday.

2 hours ago

The scene from the Romero Fire, one of two current wildfires near Kearny in rural Arizona, along wi...

Crews making good progress against Romero and Circle fires in rural Arizona

Crews continue working to contain two large wildfires threatening land in rural Arizona near Kearny, officials said Monday.

2 hours ago

A graphic shows a winning entry from the 2023 ADOT Safety Message Contest: "Seatbelts always pass t...

Kevin Stone

ADOT’s popular Safety Message Contest is underway for 2024

ADOT is once again asking citizens to put their word skills on display as part of the agency’s annual Safety Message Contest.

4 hours ago

Mugshot of Martin Alberto Perez Gonzalez, who was arrested in connection with a fatal Phoenix hotel...

Suspect in deadly Phoenix hotel shooting claims self defense after getting arrested

The suspect in a fatal Phoenix hotel shooting earlier this month claimed self defense after his arrest Monday, authorities said.

5 hours ago

police arrest homicide suspect on Monday...

Man suspected of killing woman in downtown Phoenix hotel room in early July arrested

Police arrested a homicide suspect on Monday after a two-week-long manhunt, the Phoenix Police Department said.

6 hours ago

An election worker sorts through early mail ballots in Arizona. Election Day for the Arizona primar...

Kevin Stone

Arizona primary voters running out of time to return early ballots by mail

With one week left until the Arizona primary, voters should get their early ballots in the mail as soon as possible to ensure they are counted.

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Sanderson Ford

3 storylines to get you revved up for the 2024 Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals training camp is just a couple weeks away starting on July 25, and Sanderson Ford is revved up and ready to go.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Race relations expert says ‘every American’ should celebrate Juneteenth