Did you know that Juneteenth is now a Federal Holiday? I didn't!
BUT It's so vitally important to recognize this part of American history regardless of race or culture! Let me tell you why. . .
Juneteenth is a part of American History. It commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Juneteenth celebrations and what they stand for aren't just for black people. It's a common misconception that Juneteenth is just for black people because we were the ones enslaved. Yes, it is a FREEDOM DAY for me, but it's also a critical part of shared American history that includes all of us of many ethnicities, including newer immigrants, and those who have lived on the land since the beginning. It's time we live by the same history, so we understand its meaning and implications.
When I was young, I wasn't taught about why we celebrated Juneteenth, I just knew we did, every year, and that it was a time to connect, be filled with pride, love, and strength. I was taught that it was one of MY holidays as a mixed race African-American woman. Back then, I never heard that it was connect to June 19th, but rather than it was called "teenth" because emancipations happened in a rolling pattern throughout the month, and that some time toward the end of June, some of my ancestors finally had the law on their side. In my Juneteenth was usually around the 3rd weekend of June, probably on a Saturday but really whenever I could celebrate it with friends, family, or on my own.
One thing that the social justice movements of the past 5 years have taught me, is that people will continue to struggle with racism and cultural inclusivity if we refuse to understand our shared history and how it has impacted *everyone. I've often met with people who didn't know about government-led Japanese internment camps in California, Native American science experiments & sterilizations, and air bombings of African-American neighborhoods in American history. Yet, these travesties land many others left deep marks, and sheds light on the inequities of people of color in the USA even today. It's time for us to name and discuss the laws and movements that have tried to help heal spiritual heart and mindset of mainstream America.
Juneteenth reminds all of us of the importance of freedom and equality, and how these play directly into our spiritual and cultural well being. This time of year (packed with other holidays such as the Start of Summer and Father's Day) is really a celebratory time of year. I definitely celebrate that as a country we began the process of making legal decisions to end slavery. I hope our decision making will continue to evolve.
I really love Juneteenth, and this year I celebrated it early, with dancing, good food, and some good historical preaching in a low key multicultural space. I'm really thrilled that the Federalization of the Juneteenth Holiday means there's slightly more of a chance that the importance and spiritual impact of ending slavery will be learned by all American citizens and ethnicities in the years to come. And... slavery is still happening! Just sayin.'
A few Resources to Learn About Juneteenth:
New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/article/juneteenth-day-celebration.html
Legal News (Employer Suggestions): https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/juneteenth-as-a-holiday-what-employers-6159106/
DAILEY LITTLE is a healing practitioner, transformational life coach, ordained Priestess, and teacher who founded Healing Heart Reiki to help others navigate life with joy. She offers private sessions, and teaches classes in healing and mindset from a magical peaceful corner of the world in Northern California. For more info see: www.SantaRosaReiki.com