What Will You Do This Juneteenth?
—Grace & Truth Linkup

I don’t know when the tradition started with my in-laws.

But long before I even married into the family (which has been almost 30 years), my in-laws have hosted a huge July 4th picnic at their home on the lake. Friends and family (and friends of families) are all invited, come one, come all.

We know what to do on July 4.

Our newest national holiday, Juneteenth (“America’s second Independence Day”), is Sunday, June 19.

I don’t have years of traditions celebrating Juneteenth. Yet. 

Image: Juneteenth

Juneteenth National Independence Day is also called Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, or Black Independence Day. It became an official holiday for everyone last year on June 17, 2021.

But Juneteenth has been celebrated by generations of African Americans for years. (I’m genuinely hoping we white folk won’t mess it up for them now that we’re getting involved in the celebrations.)

It marks the symbolic end of enslavement in the United States. The story goes that while President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation into law on January 1, 1863, the news didn’t reach the southernmost outpost of slavery in Texas until two and a half years later on June 19, 1865, two months after the Confederacy surrendered.

The cities near me will each have celebrations on Saturday and Sunday to mark the significance of the day, and also to remind us that racial equity still hasn’t been fully achieved. I like what historian Mitch Kachun has said the three goals of Juneteenth are: to celebrate, to educate, and to agitate. 

While we’ve made definite progress since 1865, we still have white supremacy implanted in many of our institutional structures and often still rooted in our hearts, consciously or unconsciously. This must change.

So taking time to look back to 1865, to acknowledge the journey we’ve been on, is critical if we want to move forward from a foundation of truth.

I’m looking forward to attending my first Juneteenth celebration this year. In addition to the celebration stuff (food and music!), they’ll also be offering voter registration, a blood drive, covid vaccines, and more.

Who knows? Maybe this will begin a new tradition for my family for years to come. 

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Is today a dot or a dash for you?

In our featured post this week, Robin Gonzalez says,

The Holy Spirit works within you and changes you by the dots and dashes of ordinary life-every situation, circumstance, and relationship.”

The small dots are everyday life. The larger dashes are challenges in life. They both can be times of growth in our relationship with the Lord.

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Have you celebrated Juneteenth before? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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5 thoughts on “What Will You Do This Juneteenth?
—Grace & Truth Linkup

  1. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Lisa, admittedly, I’ve not a thing planned. I just learned about this last year, like you, but you have (once again!) made me realize I need to honor it. I also want to refer you to the work of my childhood best friend Lynne Jackson, nee Madison, as I knew her then. We were parted when my family moved from the old neighborhood, but I always longed to reconnect w/ her. And to my delight, I learned that she had felt the same way, when she discovered me on FB. I’ve kept my maiden name, so she was sure it was I! What I did NOT know then, is the Lynne is the great-great granddaughter of Dred & Harriet Scott. His fight for freedom (starting right here in St. Louis in our “old courthouse”) eventually made it to the Supreme Court and their egregious “Dred Scott Decision,” and ultimately was the catalyst for the Civil War. Now Lynne works courageously for racial education and reconciliation. She is a strong Christian whose tireless work I greatly admire. I shall be saluting her on Juneteenth for sure, but we had no formal observance planned. Thank you for that timely, important suggestion. https://dredscottlives.org/

  2. Lory @ Entering the Enchanted Castle

    June Nineteenth is my wedding anniversary! I love that it coincides with this much-needed celebration and consciousness-raising opportunity. Obviously there are no such events as you will be attending here in Switzerland, but I’ll be thinking of all who fight for freedom on that day.

  3. Suzette Katopodes

    Like many of us, I just heard about Juneteenth last year. I guess the lack of knowledge is due to how history was sifted for us in school, leaving chunks of important events out of the mix. Not blaming teachers, here. That’s just the way things were done back in the day. But, I’m glad this is a new day and, hopefully, we continue to learn even more about those missing chunks of our rich history. Thanks.

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