'They're growing up in a more aware, open world:' What Juneteenth means to one mixed-race Ventura County family
Back in 2021, as Joe Biden was being inaugurated as the 46th President, a Ventura County mom was welcoming her first child. Since then, we have been following the family, who are reflecting on what Juneteenth means to them as a mixed-race family.
Two-year-old Fin Semler is playing with her little sister Tea at home in Ventura County. Tea is just 14-months younger, having arrived on the scene ten weeks premature. Their mom – Genessee is home from work with them on Monday as their daycare is closed for the Juneteenth holiday.
"We have Juneteenth now that's recognized as a Federal holiday as a response to George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement," she notes, about the holiday which was made a federal holiday the same year that she welcomed her first daughter, Fin.
We have been following the family since Fin’s arrival in January 2021 – the same time as the inauguration of President Joe Biden. Juneteenth – commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people – was made a Federal Holiday for the first time in June that same year. And as Biden starts his campaign to be elected for a second term, it’s a moment to reflect on what that means for their family.
"Time just flies and I can't believe we are back here," she told KCLU.
Semler said she's nervous of hearing of a "swing back right," and describes herself as Centrist. Of Donald Trump running again for President, it's not his policies she says she fears as much as his attitude towards women and minorities.
"It does bring up a certain amount of anxiety," she said, admitting that raising girls means those concerns are greater.
"Maybe they're not all on board with someone as extreme as him [Trump], but someone with that general sense that women are meant to be seen and not heard - that kind of attitude and old fashioned 1950's values...or how they treat unwanted pregnancies," she says gives her concerns.
"These kids won't be aware of all of this stuff that's happening for years so it's more for us adults, I guess," she said.
They went swiftly from a family of three to a family of four, and Tea spent her first few weeks in the ICU. There’s no sign of her traumatic start to life - she’s a typical happy, cute and curious one-year-old, and Genessee says as her daughters are learning the new world around them…so is she!
"It's a brave new world for these kids, and it's fascinating to see how they'll grow up that's different from me," she said.
"I'm Asian American and so these kids are mixed [race], it's interesting to see how they're regarded by their peers...the things I've experienced, I don't think they'll experience," she said optimistically. "Like racist things."
"They're growing up in a much more aware open world than I grew up in."
We will continue to follow Genessee and her family's journey.