Juneteenth and how to be an ally

Commemorative plaque of Juneteenth in Galveston, Texas by William C Teller (Wikimedia Commons)

Friends, Juneteenth is a day for us white folk to be allies, a day to educate ourselves and our kids and take steps to becoming anti-racist, which is an on-going and lifelong process. Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021, and my place of employment is giving us the day off, so it’s important to recognize that while this is not a day we can claim, it’s a day we can–and should– fully support.

Here’s a great video from BrainPOP for kids that tells the story of Juneteenth, and Colours of Us has updated their list of children’s books that celebrate Juneteenth.

I highly recommend this resource guide with twenty-three ideas to thoughtfully observe the day.

On June 19, 2021, the Rev. Carla Robinson preached a powerful sermon at Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle, Washington.

It’s a great day for us to recommit ourselves to God and to each other, to end oppression in all forms.

Let us confess our sins against God and one another.

Almighty God, Source of all that is,

Giver of every good gift:

You create all people in your image

and call us to love one another as you love us.

We confess that we have failed to honor you

in the great diversity of the human family.

We have desired to live in freedom,

while building walls between ourselves and others.

We have longed to be known and accepted for who we are,

while making judgements of others based on the color of skin,

or the shape of features, or the varieties of human experience.

We have tried to love our neighbors individually

while yet benefitting from systems that hold

those same neighbors in oppression.

Forgive us, Holy God.

Give us eyes to see you as you are revealed in all people.

Strengthen us for the work of reconciliation rooted in love.

Restore us in your image, to be beloved community,

united in our diversity,

even as you are one with Christ and the Spirit,

Holy and undivided Trinity, now and forever.

Amen.

From the liturgy compiled by the Vivian Taylor Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians

Here are more anti-racism resources I have collected.

Wendy Claire Barrie is the author of Faith at Home: A Handbook for Cautiously Christian Parents.

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