I love the fact that I share a birthday with Juneteenth.
There is something in the story of 250,000 people being free and not knowing it until a formal proclamation is made that strikes a chord in my soul. Makes me wonder what each of us might do, change, become, think, say if we only knew the truth of ourselves. And who it is we need to hear proclaim what before we grab our deepest sense of freedom and go.
According to this excellent account on the Smithsonian site http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/Juneteenth-Our-Other-Independence-Day.html#ixzz1Pe8W2eoH, Union General Gordon Granger sailed into Galveston Bay with more than 2,000 Union troops in June 1865. On the 19th–two-and-a-half years after Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation–he stood on this balcony and read what became known as General Order Number Three. It began simply: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”.
With this being the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, I’m thinking this Juneteenth merits some special attention–beyond the great festivals going on right now in Denver’s Five Points and many other communities across the U.S. What if, for example, we considered this time–between June 19 and July 4–something like Advent leading to Christmas? Made it a time for thinking about freedom in all its facets–beyond anthems and flags and pledges, as significant as those can be–for all our people. A time for observing equality, regardless of color or gender of ethnicity or pick-your-difference.
Just a thought.
Now, I think I’ll go out and pursue some happiness.