This week Congress passed legislation naming Juneteenth as a federal holiday.?June 19th?is celebrated as the day when enslaved people in Texas received word of the Emancipation Proclamation that had ended slavery in the United States two and a half years earlier.
Despite the Emancipation Proclamation being signed on January 1, 1863, it took two and a half years for action to follow the words. The Civil War had already ended. Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated two months earlier. No– it was not that the news of emancipation was slow to travel; it was that the proclamation of freedom was actively suppressed.
Naming the injustice of this “justice delayed” is striking, and important. And while congress has been able to pass this symbolic bill, real justice in our nation remains a delayed reality. Important legislation on voter suppression and environmental justice remains stalled. There are no serious conversations in congress around repair and restitution after centuries of economic exploitation.
The demand for police accountability is unheeded. The fundamental work of racial justice remains unaddressed.
Our call as people of faith is not only to name the justice delayed, and to know the story, but also to change the story. Our call to “do justice” is urgent. It is now. Our anti-racism work is a daily journey.? So may we take time on this
Juneteenth weekend (in observance of which our UCUCC staff will be out of office?on Friday June 18) to do something on behalf of this urgent work of justice now.
In our ongoing journey in antiracist learning, teaching and activism we encourage you to learn more about this historic day and action you can take to honor it. Some resources and observation events are listed below.
Emancipation Reflections: Readings and writing workshop with the?African American Writers Alliance?on Friday June 18th, 5:00 – 6:30 pm
Juneteenth: Journeys of Remembrance Celebration, Saturday June 19, 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Juneteenth 2021 in Seattle: a guide to local events, published by the South Seattle Emerald
Pastor Steve is currently on vacation and will return June 22
Pastor Amy is currently on vacation and will return July 6