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Juneeteenth together

Reflecting on the journey of Juneteenth

Have you ever yearned for something you deeply felt you deserved, only to find it elusive – taking far too long to arrive? You've whispered countless prayers, immersed yourself in sacred Scriptures and even dedicated time to fast in communion with God.

Just like when Juneteenth, the true day of liberation, was declared on January 1, 1863. It only became a lived reality on June 19, 1865, in Texas, when freedom finally touched the lives of those who had long awaited its arrival.

Gordon GrangerJuneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Jubilee Day, marks the day in 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and read federal orders announcing enslaved people were free. The announcement came two years after President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation on New Year’s Day in 1863. In 2021, President Joe Biden declared Juneteenth a national holiday.

Can you imagine a freedom that exists, but dwells in a distant land? The prayers you whispered softly, and at times cried out in anguish, finding fulfillment in lives far removed from your own. Slaves in Texas watered the Earth with their tears and built homes they could never claim, their hands torn and calloused, while a festival of freedom flourished thousands of miles away.

Can you imagine your answered prayer arriving in an unexpected guise? The General Order transforms the chains that denied you education and equal treatment into an "employer and hired labor" relationship. The struggle for justice remains, an ongoing ascent toward being recognized as a whole person, entitled to the same rights as everyone else.

But …

Can you imagine a world that follows the example of Jesus Christ?

“He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.” – Psalm 146:7-9

Throughout God’s Word, we see a reflection of themes of liberation, justice and freedom, that are central to Juneteenth. Hopefully inspiring people to seek justice, show compassion and work toward a more equitable and inclusive society.

How do we start? We start by doing Juneteenth together!

To honor Juneteenth as a Buckner family, team members in Dallas are visiting the African American Museum together. The African American Museum collects and exhibits collections such as the Billy Folk Art Collection, a 200-piece of folk art. There are more than 200 artifacts held at the museum and nearly 60 archival collections.

By learning and growing as a team, we celebrate the freedom of Juneteenth together.

Written by Keri Pettis, director of compliance & strategic initiatives for Buckner Children and Family Services.

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