Looking ahead, we wish you a proud and happy Juneteenth!
It may be May but Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake is already looking ahead to June 19th – Juneteenth. This important holiday, recognized by millions world-wide, marks one of the most important moments in American History; the emancipation of African-American slaves.
Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, and our allies across the Bay, believe that Juneteenth celebrates the long walk to justice - similar to our work that strides towards environmental justice for all. For many of our faith cultures, and diverse national identities, the Summer Solstice also holds a special place for self reflection. Unlike the Spring equinox, which symbolizes new beginnings, the Summer Solstice reminds us to turn inward and to seek the peace and balance for one's own personal growth. Please join us as we turn inward, but OUTSIDE, and learn what it means to honor the legacy of Juneteenth.
We hope you will consider commemorating the holiday and the Summer Solstice by joining one of our Juneteenth/Solstice events celebrating these special days.
What is Juneteenth all about?
Juneteenth is our nation’s oldest celebration of the emancipation of African-American slaves.
Originating in Galveston, Texas in 1865, when U.S. General Granger read to the people of Texas General Order Number 3. The reading famously began with the text;
"The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer."
This address came two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
The celebrations following in the wake of this historic announcement have continued now for 157 years. Juneteenth offers a chance for not only reflection on one of America’s darkest chapters, but for celebration of the American spirit to not only recognize injustice but to challenge ourselves to make amends and grow.
For more than a century, America’s African-American communities have strived for the “absolute equality of rights” so promised by the Emancipation Proclamation, and by General Order Number 3. There is still tremendous room in our nation for equity and justice improvements, but we have come a long way since the first Juneteenth, more than 150 years ago. Across the nation, people of all races, nationalities, and religions are banding together to truthfully acknowledge a portion of our history that has so profoundly impacted our society. When we can truthfully acknowledge our past, we can begin to heal, make right, and celebrate the spirit of what it means to be an American.
We cannot erase the misdeeds of the past, nor can we ignore them, but we can make amends for the future. It’s time to begin the path towards healing. That in many ways is what our work here at Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake is all about; healing sacred waters, and in this instance, preserving sacred stories.
We hope you will join us this Juneteenth for a special series of Juneteenth events! We’ll be celebrating this special day on the longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice.
Anne Arundel County - Stay tuned for updates!
Want to find other ways to get involved with Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake? Connect with your regional staff, learn more about our programs and resources, and see how you can become a part of a movement of faithful stewart's caring for our home here in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Thank you from all of us, and Happy Juneteenth!
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