I realize every month has something special to offer. For me, the month of June holds a unique place in both my head and heart. June is the sixth month of the year, and it is said that it is most likely named for the Roman goddess Juno, patroness of marriage, and the well-being of women, which may be why so many people get married in June. June is also the first month of the summer season and that means, hot weather, fun times, travel, and beautiful flowers. My husband’s pet name for me is Rose and the rose is June’s birth flower. The rose indicates love or desire. So, as you can see June is one of my favorite months. I also like June because both Father’s Day and Juneteenth are celebrated during this exciting month. Juneteenth is commemorated on the 19th of June and this year Father’s Day will be celebrated on Sunday, June 20th.
Juneteenth 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 is the oldest known celebration honoring the end of slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday. Though born and raised in California, the paternal side of my family hails from East Texas. My Texas roots make me imagine the joy that my ancestors must have felt to hear that one of the most hideous crimes in the history of mankind was finally over. If I close my eyes and allow my sanctified imagination to work, I can see and hear the former slaves celebrating the good news with prayers, praise, singing, and dancing with eyes full of tears of joy. Today, 47 states now recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday, while efforts to make it a national holiday have so far stalled in Congress.
June 20th is Father’s Day, the day we celebrate the 70 million fathers in the United States. The reason this day plays a pivotal role in my life is because of the tumultuous relationship I had with my father had a chance to be restored before his death. Without going into detail my father was not always there for me when I needed him most and his lifestyle in my formative years was quite questionable. It was the love of my grandmother that kept me during those unsettling times. As an adult, I witnessed my father’s transformation and saw how he gave his life over to the Lord and God used him to help others that were often lost and trying to find their way. His transformation was part of the origins of how I was able to forgive not only him but also others. Father’s Day makes me miss my earthly father now more than ever, but I am also reminded of the loving goodness, grace, and mercy of our heavenly father.
This month please take time to reflect and remember the trials, tribulations, and triumphs our forefathers went through and thank them for their perseverance, persistence, and determination. This is the importance of “Juneteenth.” And if your father is still alive take time to thank him for being your father and for all that he has contributed to your life. If he is no longer here with you share a positive memory with your children for them to pass down to future generations. Family and legacy are sometimes the only things we have to memorialize the contributions that were made during our lifetime.
Healing Without Hate: It’s a choice. It’s a lifestyle. Pass it on!