Today is Juneteenth, the anniversary of the day when the last enslaved people in America were informed of their emancipation - more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. There is so much to say about this day. As I write this, there is so much that I want you to know about Juneteenth, and I'm afraid to talk about it. I'm afraid of misinterpreting or misrepresenting such an important day in Black history. As a white person, I don't have the experience of living in America as a Black person. My thoughts, feelings, and beliefs have been formed by my experience as a white person. My orientation to slavery is fundamentally different than someone whose ancestors were enslaved by white Americans.
It is important to engage Black history from Black content creators. Any white person who tells you about Juneteenth will be filtering the story through their own whiteness.
For us at Broadway Church, it is mostly white people who show up on Sunday morning. So, how can we meaningfully acknowledge Juneteenth instead of offering a hollow gesture to soothe our own discomfort about slavery, white supremacy, and racial violence?
We must meet words with action. If we claim to honor the divinity in all people, we must work toward equity, inclusion, and representation of all people.
One action you can take this weekend is learning: Engage with the experience of Black people from the mouths of Black people. Click Here for a comprehensive list of resources to read or watch.Click here to read the Urban League of KC's latest "State of Black Kansas City". From there, decide what actions you will take moving forward in support of the full equity and inclusion of Black people.
Here are some options:
Buy from Black owned businesses (directories can be found here and here), set up a recurring donation to a nonprofit that serves the Black community, donate to a Black candidate running for office. Make sure you're registered to vote in Missouri or Kansas. Join Sheryl Stewart, Beka Leininger and I on the Social Justice Team to help shape the racial justice actions chosen on behalf of Broadway Church.
Whatever action you choose, do it with a prayer of hope and humility in your heart. As you engage and take action, please do so in conversation with me. I don't have all the answers, but I can help you process your feelings and support you to step out of supremacy culture.