Juneteenth: Joy in the Midst of Trauma
Dear Friends and Family,
Today is Juneteenth-a celebration of the day when those who had been enslaved learned, two and a half years after the fact, they were legally free. It was then, and is now, a celebration of freedom, a celebration of joy in the midst of trauma.
Today, we confront the trauma of slavery every time a white police officer murders an unarmed Black man, woman, or child; a white vigilante with a weapon of war guns down Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in their churches, grocery stores and businesses; a white lawmaker passes a law taking control of women, how we care for our bodies and raise our children; a white nationalist drives into a crowd, takes over a state government or charges the United States capitol during what has been and should be the orderly transition of power.
In the midst of all this trauma rooted in white supremacy and slavery, the celebration of Juneteenth offers us a way forward-a way to find joy in the midst of trauma. But not just personal joy, collective joy, because we are not alone in this. We live and die by the health and well-being of all of us. To quote my favorite organization, Homies Empowerment, “It takes a barrio.”
It was during a visit to the new Homies Empowerment Freedom Farm that I found joy in the community again. Seeing so many people come out on a hot and dry Saturday morning to build planter boxes, dig trenches, put in irrigation drip lines, and do it all with music, laugher and hugs, reminded me there is joy in the world. I couldn’t stop smiling, hugging, and taking pictures. I remembered- again -the only way out is through, and the only way through is with each other.
If you, too, would like to experience and contribute to the joy that is Homies Empowerment, become a monthly sustainer of Homies. No amount is too small, it is tax deductible, and monthly donations allow Homies to predict and plan for their future.
Just writing this letter to you reminds me joy is a verb-an act to give and to receive. I hope you will give and receive your own joy.
Until next time, stay healthy, safe, and loved, most important loved.
Originally published at https://www.lesliepoynor.com on June 19, 2022.