Kheoshi Owens and her daughter Empress Supreme Kheoshi, 7.
This is the very first in a series of post magnifying the voices of Energy Trust partners.
For Kheoshi Owens, founder and CEO of Empress Rules Equity Consulting, an anti-racism, equity and addition consulting firm, Juneteenth is both a celebration of freedom for Black Americans and a tip of the ways in which that flexibility hasnt been totally recognized.
Juneteenth celebrates June 19, 1865, when the last enslaved people were freed more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. This month, Oregon lawmakers agreed to formally acknowledge Juneteenth as a state holiday start in 2022.
Owens, an establishing member of Energy Trusts Diversity Advisory Council, says the legacy of slavery and discrimination in the United States should be remembered every day.
” I celebrate being Black every day,” said Owens. “Black history is American history. Juneteenth is something that everybody contributes to– the determined and resilient Black folx who battled for flexibility, and the white folx who took part in and continue to gain from enslaving Black people. Thats something individuals should be thinking of every day.”
Here, Owens talks about Juneteenth, reparations and what Energy Trust can do to help end racism.
Does this Juneteenth feel various after last years racial numeration?
KO: For me, it does not make it any much heavier. Its always been heavy. Im wondering when are people going to alter? How lots of more Black people need to die? What is going to need to occur for people who operate in whiteness to alter, provide reparations and acknowledge that our laws are rooted in anti-Blackness? All these systems are created to keep Black individuals down. What is it going to take?
Im reclaimed when I hear individuals state something changed in them when George Floyd passed away; George Floyd has actually been passing away and has passed away countless times. What will you do in a different way? What will you do to avoid us from dying? How will you safeguard us and invest in our healing? How will people support Black people in thriving?
How do you think Black and white Americans define freedom?
KO: For people who look like me, its an act of resistance to be able to be totally free. Freedom? Im looking forward to when I can actually be totally free.
I have actually experienced liberty in my own domain, however as far as experiencing freedom on a white level– to be able to be my authentic self and be able to use what I wish to wear; talk how I wish to talk; be direct or not be direct; to be served first, to be seen, to be heard, to be confirmed, to be respected– I have not experienced that flexibility. I have peeks of it, but to in fact live freedom, I dont even understand what that level of freedom feels like yet; however I will, due to the fact that we will interact as one neighborhood to repair damage and heal as a country.
What requires to occur to change that?
KO: There requires to be reparations. All these corporations and families that can trace any part of their refund to slavery, took part in slavery or any person that had anything to do with it, from banks to insurance provider that insured Black bodies as home. Anyone who benefited from slavery or any kind of anti-Black injustice– they require to pay reparations. We require to get the financial funds, you require to regularly provide and contribute. Reparations are not even something that Black people need to ask for; its owed. Black individuals have actually currently paid the cost. Do not wait on someone to inform you to do it; do it on your own.
Second, there requires to be education. Corporations, nonprofits, every entity and private requirements to invest in informing themselves and stop depending on Brown and black folx to educate them (for free), unless youre going to compensate them … And educate your kids, let them know what happened. Were not here to make white kids feel bad or make white people feel bad, but what happened happened. I still need to handle being a Black person in America, so white individuals will have to deal with their history too and how they have actually benefited and continue to gain from the atrocities that their ancestors and people who appear like their forefathers have actually dedicated. Its time to alter the habits, turn away from the misconception of white supremacy and turn towards anti-racism, justice and recovery. Modification begins with self.
I would like to see more people in positions of power, particularly white people, be deliberate and change the story through action. We need individuals who run in brightness to decolonize their minds and their practices and change their habits. Im looking forward to the day when we, as American people, can heal enough to develop a various narrative about white people.
What function can Energy Trust play?
KO: Energy Trust is beginning to move in the ideal instructions. I enjoy the collaborations that its making with the Brown and black neighborhoods. Energy Trust is open to working in partnership with BIPOC neighborhoods rather of extracting, which is typically what organizations and people who operate in whiteness do. They wish to come get something from you but they do not wish to compensate you, they do not actually appreciate your neighborhood … I love Energy Trusts First Thursday Diversity Day occasions, led by Energy Trusts Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Lead Tyrone Henry; I love the reality that more individuals are getting excited about anti-racism and using a racial equity lens when theyre doing jobs. Theyre dealing with racializing these experiences rather of acting like everyones the exact same. Because were not; every neighborhood has different requirements.
I would enjoy to see Energy Trust end up being a leader in anti-racism, racial equity and addition in energy effectiveness through providing financial reparations for incentives that Black and Brown folx paid for and rarely benefited from; and diversifying their board, management and staff through a racial equity lens. Energy Trust can be a leader in our neighborhood by modeling what it looks like to take duty for previous damages and do the best thing. Reparations begins with the desire of Energy Trust to state, “Yes, for a long time weve been offering white individuals an unreasonable advantage because of unearned benefits; for Black people here in Oregon, we have charged you for a service that you might not have actually understood existed and we want to clean up that up.
How will people support Black people in prospering?
I still have to deal with being a Black individual in America, so white people will have to deal with their history too and how they have actually benefited and continue to benefit from the atrocities that their individuals and forefathers who look like their forefathers have committed. I would like to see more individuals in positions of power, especially white individuals, be deliberate and change the story through action. Im looking forward to the day when we, as American individuals, can recover enough to establish a various narrative about white individuals. Reparations starts with the desire of Energy Trust to say, “Yes, for a long time weve been offering white individuals an unfair benefit since of unearned privileges; for Black individuals here in Oregon, we have actually charged you for a service that you might not have actually known existed and we want to clean up that up.