Juneteenth: An Invitation to Practice
With every sit, we take four vows. This celebration – Juneteenth – is itself a dharma gate we can enter.
It carries a legacy of greed, hatred and ignorance, and an opportunity for us to know nothing, be
present, and better embody the Buddha’s way.
Juneteenth is a celebration of the end of slavery.
On his arrival in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, General Granger read General Order Number 3, announcing that all slaves are free.
He had the backing of federal troops to ensure this order was implemented. Celebrations arose spontaneously, then became an annual tradition – spreading across Texas and, over time, across the country.
But dig deeper. The significance of Juneteenth is as complicated as our country’s history.
Ready for goosebumps? Listen to and watch this powerful rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing”.
In that song, we can hear and see the impact of what has described as America’s Racial Karma.
We invite you to be present to the voices quoted in this Crosscut article. They share:
- Anger at false promises of equality. From the war of independence, to the Emancipation Proclamation, through Civil Rights movements and Black Lives Matter; the struggle for equality continues.
- Defiant, courageous joy that black people thrive, overcoming fear, hatred and violence. This is a celebration of a resilient culture, resisting ongoing attacks with faith, love, strength, food, singing.
- Optimism for the future. Hope lies in community unity and healing work, building on a legacy of resistance and liberation.
- Growing awareness is bittersweet: Juneteenth has personal significance. It’s a time to recharge; to plug into “joy as a revolutionary act”. There is fear that this will be co-opted by those who haven’t
lived the struggle – becoming just another day for a picnic or sale.
Join us as we enter this dharma gate. Honor the day; don’t let it slip by. Read, listen, sit… we will soon be adding some of our favorite podcasts and articles here.
Support black businesses in the celebration, and recognize the depths of it.
May we act to transform our country’s racial karma.
– from the Racial Healing Group