Juneteenth

Photo by Hillie Chan on Unsplash

When I think of Juneteenth, I see one hard-won step on a very long journey. May we continue to climb that mountain and reach a higher place. Photo by Hillie Chan on Unsplash

This second official Juneteenth happens to fall on Father’s Day. I find that fitting somehow, as I pause to consider what it means to be a good man and to give gratitude for all who father.

The official site for Juneteenth is here. It commemorates that July 19th day in 1865, 2-1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation and over a month after the last battle of that hard, bloody war, when the last black american slaves in Galveston, TX were finally set free.

The date has been celebrated in black communities for years with street fairs, parades, concerts, and prayer. In 2021 it was finally, recognized as a federal holiday. It is good to see the growing acknowledgment and honoring of its significance among broader communities through events and such. Some are listed here in the LI Press . Others are in this piece from News12 LI.

Of course, being forcibly set free and actually realizing the stated promise of this nation are two different things. Another good way to honor this day is to study history, both before and after that day, and to reflect on how, while Juneteenth itself recalls a moment of triumph worthy of celebration, it was just one hard-won step on an ongoing journey toward “a more perfect union,” and far from the end of disparity in the treatment of human beings.

I am grateful to all who have given their best to advance civil rights and to create a more just world. May we honor ongoing endeavors to more fully realize the acknowledgment and admonishment entailed by our nation’s Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

One local organization focused on just that is ERASE Racism. Here, in their most recent newsletter they ask how folks are celebrating Juneteenth, share some of what they offer and are focused on, and offer a wealth of diverse and broader resources for exploration.

Check it out

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: To Reflect and Serve

Photo of MLK Monument in Washington DC

The third Monday in January is reserved to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is the only federal holiday formally recognized as a national day of service, “a day on, not a day off.” In the spirit of listening and thinking first, people are warmly encouraged to study the works of King, and to devote time to serious reflection on how we will endeavor toward a healthier, more just world for all. Here are some ways you can learn about and advance his legacy.

Continue reading

ERASE Racism Virtual Benefit

Join the movement for a Just Long Island at ERASE Racism’s Virtual Benefit. Your participation and donation will help them to address structural racism in our communities and increase equity in housing and education.

When: November 17th

Honoring: Roger Tilles philanthropist and New York State Regent for Long Island. (You can read our own recent piece on Roger here), and Newsday for their 2019 investigative report, “Long Island Divided,” which exposed widespread evidence of civil rights violations.

Leadership Awardee: SCO Family of Services for demonstrating a strategic commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Silent Auction: Open from November 9th–18th. To participate, please visit https://ERASE.givesmart.com/

To Purchase E-Journal Ads, or for Sponsorship Information: visit www.eraseracismny.org.

To Support ERASE Racism: Make a donation here.

Follow the Phoenix: Still They Rise

Our hearts break and our minds race at what is happening in our Nation; to witness our longest simmering disease now raging in a fever that renders the viral pandemic that’s been all we could think about all but forgotten. We are mindful that this is THIS, singular in its twisted trauma. Still, we are also mindful that the plague of hate and contempt of fellow man is not limited to sanctioned targets; that this disease does not exist in isolation. In thinking about this, we are reminded of so many black leaders intent on guiding everyone to higher ground…

Continue reading

Poor People’s Campaign Assembly & Moral March is Going Digital

Susan Karbiner wants folks to know about “The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival,” which picks up on the unfinished work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, who joined with others in 1968 to build a broad, fusion movement to unite the poor and impacted communities and call for a “revolution of values” in America.

Their Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington is going digital!

When: June 20, 2020

What: “The largest digital and social media gathering of poor and low-wealth people, moral and religious leaders, advocates, and people of conscience in this nation’s history.

A global pandemic is exposing even more the already existing crisis of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and militarism, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. On June 20, the 140 million poor and low-wealth people across this nation will be heard!”

Jayette Lansbury: Tireless Champion for People who are Impacted by Mental Illness and for Compassionate Criminal Justice Reform

Photo of Jayette Lansbury

Jayette Lansbury is a staunch advocate for individuals with mental illness and their caregivers, as well as for reform within the criminal justice system. She intended to become a defense attorney, but was sidelined by illness in her family. Then, she had a son with significant mental health challenges.

Continue reading