The coming of the federal holiday for Juneteenth has occurred. This date is the day that Federal troops arrived in Texas at the end of the Civil War on June 19th, 1865 to proclaim the Emancipation Proclamation, officially declaring all enslaved people free.
As I sit here today I wonder where I fit in on Juneteenth. Should I celebrate it? Is it wrong for me to do so? Other questions about Juneteenth I have heard are “We have July 4 for all Americans, why do we need a Federal holiday?” Isn’t Juneteenth some “woke” made up holiday to make white people feel bad about something they had nothing to do with?” And finally why would a Celtic Christian care about Juneteenth? I will do my best to answer these questions. I must confess, these answers may not sit well with my friends, or my enemies. But the truth will always be the truth and we must embrace it. In the same way we, as Celtic Christians need to embrace Juneteenth.
Should I celebrate Juneteenth? (Remember and Honor)
The very simple answer is yes, but lets unpack it a bit more. When I say celebrate Juneteenth, I mean I intend to celebrate it in the same way I celebrate Christmas, Easter and Memorial Day. On these days it is appropriate for me to remember. At Christmas, I remember and honor that God so loved me He took on flesh in the form of Jesus Christ. When I celebrate Easter I remember and honor that God so loved me that in flesh, he was horrifically murdered for my sake.
On Memorial Day, I remember and honor those who put on the uniform, and never returned. I remember and honor. On Juneteenth I remember the horrors that African Americans suffered at the hands of the United States. I honor those who’s ancestors lost their lives when they choose the sea rather than Chattel Slavery, I honor those who died in the slave ships from mistreatment. I honor those who worked under the lash of masters from 1619 to 1865. I remember and honor those who faced and continue to face oppression not only here but all over the world. I remember. I honor.
Is it Wrong for me to Celebrate?
To be honest, I think this depends on your definition of celebration. In America we associate celebration with excess. We eat to excess, we drink to excess and we have a kind of party mentality. If this is your idea of celebrating Juneteenth, You are right in saying it is wrong to celebrate. In the same way it irritates me to no end how Saint Patrick’s Day is treated in this country, it would be distasteful to act this way on Juneteenth.
Now, there is nothing wrong with a cookout, a couple of drinks and time with family. This would be no different on Memorial Day or Easter. To make the celebration of this momentous day in American History a day of remembering and honoring those it is meant to honor. My hope is that we don’t make this holiday into how other holidays are being treated. The 4th of July, Cinco de Mayo, and St. Patrick’s day have become synonymous with debauchery. Maybe celebrating Juneteenth in the spirit of remembrance and honor would cause us to do the same with the other holidays as well.
We have July 4 for all Americans, why do we need another Federal holiday?
I do believe that July 4 should be a Federal holiday, but we must own the truth here. July 4th was not for every American. July 4th was for the free peoples at the time. Mainly white Protestant Christians. My evidence? The slaves in this newly independent nation remained in chains from July 5, 1776 until June 19th 1865. This is an undeniable historical fact. I am not arguing the valor of the Continental Forces or saying we should not honor them or the birth of our nation. All I am saying is that we should also honor the valor of those who remained in the most atrocious form of bondage the world has ever seen, Chattel Slavery. both are deserving of honor, yet the later has only been federally remembered and honored once in the entire history of the nation…TODAY.
Also, we celebrate Easter, a day that has nothing to do with the physical history of the nation. We celebrate Columbus Day, and Columbus didn’t even land on our soil. We celebrate the birth of a Palestinian Jew who never set foot on our soil. Now I wont argue the need to celebrate Easter or Christmas (don’t get me started on Columbus Day), but I do argue the need to celebrate Juneteenth as a federal holiday because it happened here and it should be remembered and honored here.
Isn’t Juneteenth some “woke” made up holiday to make white people feel bad about something they had nothing to do with?
There is a lot to unpack in this sentence. Juneteenth, in some way shape or form, has been celebrated in Texas since 1865. The historical record proves it is not made up. Juneteenth is not “woke”, that’s like saying my daughter is my mother… Your putting the cart before the horse. events like Juneteenth being treated the way it has contributed to this “woke” thing people talk about. As for making white people feel bad, that is also untrue. No black person has ever made me feel any kind of way, or held me accountable for slavery. The only person who can make you feel bad is you. But even deeper, while it is true living people had nothing to do with slavery, I find it difficult to separate our national wealth from 100 years of free labor.
Our nation, and by proxy us, have benefited from the free labor that propelled the wealth of our nation in its first half of life. Juneteenth is not about making a people feel bad. Like July 4th, Christmas or Memorial Day, its for remembering and honoring. In short, it is not made up and it is not to punish. Its to remember and honor. And if we can honor those who willingly gave their life to our nation in combat, then we can certainly honor those who were forced to give their lives for our nation under the bondage of Chattel Slavery.
Celtic Christians need to embrace Juneteenth
As followers of Jesus Christ we are called to honor and remember. We honor our mothers and fathers, we eat the bread and drink from the cup in remembrance of our Salvation. Embedded in the core of what it is to be Christian is the concept of honoring and remembering.
As those who observe Celtic ways, we must understand that Celtic people share a common trauma with African Americans. We both have been forged through the oppression of Anglo-Protestant supremacy. It must be said that Celts were not held in Chattel Bondage. The Celt and later the Gaelic and Irish had their lands and livelihood taken away, not becoming an independent people until 1921. We must embrace Juneteenth the same way we embrace the Easter Rising of 1916. To remember and honor those who have suffered under the lash of masters. We must remember and honor the forefathers of our African brothers and sisters.
as White Americans, we must educate our children about July 4th and June 19th. Telling Half Truths are deception, and deception is a lie. As Celtic Christians we must honor, remember and educate. This ensures the atrocities committed on the Celts and Africans both. This ensures all histories are honored and remembered. Honor, and Remember.