Activist Opal Lee is serious about Juneteenth becoming a national holiday. So much so that the 90-year-old is walking from her Fort Worth, Texas home to Washington D.C. to prove to President Obama why the day that the last enslaved Blacks were freed in Texas should be recognized on a federal level.
According to Fox 4 News, she plans to walk 10 miles a day in order to reach the White House by December. She hopes her walking tour will raise awareness around the 100,000 signatures needed by October for an online petition on the White House’s website.
Lee also hopes that she can deliver the petition in person to POTUS himself.
“I would just tell him how much I appreciate what he has gone through,” she said about the chance to meet the president. “The man has worked with his hands tied behind him. He has tried to do what needed to be done, and he has had obstacle after obstacle to try to hold him down, but he hasn’t given up. Why should we?” she added.
Being ten years shy of 100, is Lee concerned she won’t make it to her destination? Not at all, she says.
“If you start something, finish it,” she said. “I don’t care how difficult it seems. If you start it, finish it. If I get too tired, I’ve got this walker. It’s gonna have my bottled water in it and my lip balm. If I have to sit down and rest, there’s something to read. I’ve got no problems!” she told CW News.
This isn’t the first time that Lee has gone to the nation’s capital to speak her mind.
“Three of my sons were in Vietnam at one time. I used to tell people I walked to Washington. I really didn’t. I got there as fast as I could, I knocked on Lyndon Johnson’s door. Didn’t get to see him, so I got Liz Carpenter (Lady Bird Johnson’s Press Secretary, among other things) and told her the situation,” she said. “They moved two of those boys.”
Hopefully her tenacity this time around will also lead to success.
“If Juneteenth becomes a holiday, look what we’ve achieved,” Lee said. “If we can achieve this, we can achieve some other things because we did it together, not just one person.”
Now, if this doesn’t inspire you to get out there and fulfill your own dreams, we don’t know what else will.