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.
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.
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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Read all of Robin’s post here, then link up your own blog posts below.
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Have you celebrated Juneteenth before? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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- Romans 8:26 – Memory Verse for June 19-25, 2022