BJC hosting Fierce Freedom, a free, online conversation on June 18
June 19 is Juneteenth, which marks the anniversary of word of the Emancipation Proclamation reaching Texas in 1865 – a full two years after the legal end of slavery. Juneteenth, which is well on its way to becoming our newest federal holiday, is a day of celebration and remembrance for all of America. It is also a reminder of the work that remains undone in the fight for freedom, justice, and equality.
Former BJC intern the Rev. Darrell Hamilton II writes in Baptist News Global:
[E]ven after 156 years, Black people in this nation are still not free.
Black people remain shackled and sequestered in food deserts and incarcerated in communities with over-policing, lead in the water and increased rates of murder and suicide. The effects of COVID-19 proved to have had a disproportionate impact on Black communities. Due to generations of systemic, racist policies, once thriving and affluent Black communities have been changed into ghettos and proverbial cemeteries.
Therefore, to make Juneteenth and the promise of freedom real we must dismantle the vestiges of our nation’s antebellum past through seeing, hearing and restoring the full humanity of dehumanized people. Anything less makes chants and statements of “Black lives matter” nothing more than the sound of clanging brass and tinkling cymbals. Anything less is not the love of Christ. Anything less is no love at all.
Why discuss Juneteenth in a blog devoted to religious liberty topics? Because religious freedom and racial justice are inextricably bound together, as BJC demonstrated during numerous events and resources during the past year. “[W]e can’t have religious freedom for everyone,” BJC Executive Director Amanda Tyler argues, “until we have racial justice.” Juneteenth, she says is a “religious freedom holiday too.” BJC has provided a new online resource page compiling information and opportunities to celebrate Juneteenth around the country and online (email us to have your event added to the list!)
One online event you don’t want to miss takes place this Friday, June 18 at 1 p.m. Eastern/Noon Central Time. BJC is hosting an online event entitled Fierce Freedom – featuring the Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis – live from the National Press Club. Rev. Dr. Lewis is the Senior Minister of Middle Collegiate Church in New York City, and she is the author of the forthcoming book, Fierce Love: A Bold Path to Ferocious Courage and Rule-breaking Kindness that can Heal the World.
This event promises to be an exciting and challenging discussion about race and religious freedom on the eve of Juneteenth. Register now for this free and live event!