Southfield (CW50) – Artist Jonathan Harris, whose most recent work on Critical Race Theory gained national recognition, is back with another series showcasing in July. His newest series, “I Pledge Allegiance,” features people of color draping the American flag on themselves, which explores the idea of what being an American means to them.

Community Connect Host Jackie Paige, with Artist Jonathan Harris

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Jonathan Harris joins Jackie Paige on Community Connect to discuss how his art has impacted others in the community to make a difference, and what his latest “I Pledge Allegiance” series means to him and others.

Artists Jonathan Harris’s newest series “I Pledge Allegiance”

Harris also discussed his relationship with Juneteenth. Harris discussed not knowing about Juneteenth until recently. He credited being unaware of the holiday to the lack of exposure he was given to it as a child. Now that he knows about the day and the celebrations that come a long with it in the community, Harris has become a strong advocate for bringing awareness to what has become a National Holiday.

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Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Black Independence Day, was a day 2 and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, when 250,000 slaves in Texas learned that they were free on June 19th, 1865. These slaves had been free the entire time, but were not told. The announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army general Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom for enslaved people in Texas. At the time, Texas was the last remaining state with institutionalized slavery.

Harris also takes the time to go into schools to teach the communities youth about slavery and oppression, and how there is a past, present, and future that still deals with institutionalized racism against Black people.

You can find out more about Jonathan Harris’s art at JonathanHarrisArt.bigcartel.com

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Watch Community Connect, Saturday at 7am on CW50.