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From the Associate Vicar: Juneteenth

From the Associate Vicar: Juneteenth
Published on Fri, 17 Jun 2022 11:16
From The... - Letters to the Congregation

Dear One’s of St. C’s, 

This Sunday, June 19th is known as Juneteenth in our country.  Many people in the United States who are not black did not know what this day commemorated until recently.  Some may still be unclear on what it is.  I want to take a moment to reflect on Juneteenth because I think it  is very important that we all can articulate the significance of this day for our country.  

Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday on June 17th, 2021.   A Republican Sen. Joey Hensley, voted against the proposal to have Juneteenth recognized as an official holiday in the states.  He said,”I just think we're putting the cart before the horse making a holiday that people don't know about.” <https://www.npr.org/2022/06/15...>.

I believe this is the exact reason it needs to be a federal holiday.  This is apart of the history of the United States that all people who live ini the US should be aware of.  So what is Juneteenth?

“Juneteenth commemorates when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, in 1865, two months after the Confederacy had surrendered in the Civil War and about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed enslaved people in Southern states.” <https://www.npr.org/2022/06/15...>. 

2 and half years after these people received their freedom they were actually told they were free.  The tragedy of this history is significant.  This history also brings up important questions and discussions.  This moment is a celebration and this release from slavery is important, but we must also examine how has black people’s freedom been hindered for decades to follow?  How has this injustice been resisted by people in the United Sates?  How do you and I continue to resist today?

Our work is not done to make sure all people in this country are free. Democratic Del. Andrea Harrison put it well when she said, "Becoming a state holiday will not merely give employees a day off, it will also give residents a day to think about the future that we want, while remembering the inequities of the past.  It will help us to reflect how far we've come as a nation, how much more we need to do as humankind.”  <https://www.npr.org/2022/06/15...>.

I hope you will take time to recognize this holiday this weekend. I hope you can celebrate how far have we com since June 19th, 1865.  And I hope you can spend some time reflecting on how far we have to go.  Where are you resisting injustices that still exist today because of our history of slavery?  And, if you are wondering what you can do - a very practical question, how can you support black owned businesses this weekend and throughout the year?

As we see the image of God on all people, this is a painful history to examine and discuss, but it certainly not going anywhere when we try to bury it away.  So let’s be brave and hopeful as we bring our past to light and work to create a more justice-filled future. 

With hope, 


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