“Happy Juneteenth, a special day on which we celebrate Black freedom and achievement…
…Slavery persisted in the southern US after the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. In remote corners of the Confederacy, news of slavery's end did not come until more than two months after Robert E. Lee's reluctant surrender in April 1865. The day General Order No. 3 was finally delivered to the people of Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865 is the day slavery finally ended in the Confederacy. Juneteenth commemorates this announcement. It is important to note that slavery was not fully abolished until the passage of the 13th amendment on December 6. 1865.
As we all know, the end of slavery did not mark the end of discrimination. Black people in America have had to overcome countless social injustices throughout history and continue to fight for equality today.
Juneteenth is important not just for Black Americans but for all Americans…Juneteenth and the events leading up to freedom for all Americans must be understood and supported by all, so everyone can have the opportunity to live in a just society that does not discriminate on the basis of the color of your skin or any other differences.
Juneteenth is also a celebration of the many achievements of the Black community and the richness of African American heritage. On Juneteenth, many families get together to eat, dance, and celebrate their culture. They may also take this time to honor the history of their ancestors whose stories stretch back thousands of years to African civilizations.”
As a church, and more importantly as Christ followers, we seek to fulfill the command that Jesus gave to his disciples at the last supper, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). This command follows the example of Jesus humbling himself in the form of a servant by washing his own disciples' feet before He demonstrated the extent of his love by dying a humiliating and painful death for all humankind.
Sometimes, in moments like these, we hear people criticize or attempt to politicize the conversation. For many of us, Juneteenth is something we’re still learning about, maybe for the first time. For some of us, this might be a conversation that we’re struggling with, because we’re not sure how it fits with what we were taught or have believed. For others, this day of remembrance holds a special, painful, or complicated reality. As Christ followers, and as fellow human beings, let us all do our best to prioritize love above all else. We encourage you to do what is always good to do:
Listen to the hearts and stories of others.
Respect and love your neighbors, family, and friends.
Celebrate with those who are celebrating
and to mourn with those who are mourning.
Pray and seek God’s will for our country, our community, and our church.