In honor of Juneteenth

Juneteenth
A group of freed slaves at the harbor in Galveston, Texas. (Bettmann Archive)

 

Juneteenth is a date that should be in every American child’s history book, but it certainly was not in mine. Here’s a brief statement from the History web site:

Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday.

That was a start, and maybe, over 150 years later, we’ll finally start seeing more needed change.


 

Yup, Colin Kaepernick
I remember when Colin Kaepernick took a knee. I remember the outcry on TV and radio, I remember the people who were horrified by what they viewed as an assault on the American flag, and I remember the way the NFL handled the situation. It all began with one man staging a peaceful protest against police brutality, and it ended with death threats against him, and his being blackballed out of his football career.

Viewed from today’s perspective, Kaepernick’s actions seem prophetic.

 

Kaepernick
Colin Kaepernick (R) takes a knee with teammate Eric Reid. Photograph by Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press, 2016.

 


 

Visualizing Racism
Beautiful and haunting, the Washington Post produced this photography issue entitled “Visualizing Racism.”

Chikwendiu
Photograph by Washington Post photographer Jahi Chikwendiu, part of series entitled “Chokehold.”

 

 


 

Gaslighting
Do you know what the term “gaslighting” means? Here’s a useful definition from Stephanie Sarkis, PhD: “Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. It works much better than you may think. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn’t realize how much they’ve been brainwashed.” She continues with this list of a gaslighter’s techniques:

  1.  They tell blatant lies.
  2.  They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof.
  3.  Their actions do not match their words.
  4.  They try to align people against you.
  5.  They tell you everyone else is a liar.

If any of that sounds familiar, click here to read a fine article about the gaslighting that happens daily in the United States.

 


 

White privilege
White privilege doesn’t mean that your life hasn’t been hard. It just means that the color of your skin isn’t one of the things that make it harder.

 


 

Thank you, Brian Andreas
I like the work done by Brian Andreas and his partner Fia Skye. I’m on a mailing list to receive a daily email message from one or the other of them, with a short story and a new work of art. Lately, their stories have struck a chord with me nearly every day, and I wanted to share this one with you, from June 8, 2020. If you’d like to see more, click here.

Because I have a feeling that we’re in for a messy, full-throated tangling with a new way of doing things together. A way that invites us all to listen deeply & speak carefully about what matters. To let go of things we think we know. To find out what it’s going to take to love each other so fiercely that when we finally look up to see each other’s glowing faces, we won’t believe it took us so long to do it this way…

I don’t know what changes might be wrought by current events. I don’t know how our world will look in five or ten years, and frankly, I don’t even know what to do. Here’s a thought: maybe it has nothing to do with figuring out what to do next. Maybe it’s about stopping. Just stopping. Holding still. Taking a deep breath. And listening. What I do know is that the world could use more kindness, more patience, more respect. More compassion, more acceptance, more love. There is never too much of any of those things.

 


 

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