Red lemonade and boundless community for Juneteenth

Tomorrow, I will wear red and drink lemonade made red and extra tangy by hibiscus flowers in celebration of Juneteenth.

I’ve never celebrated Juneteenth before. Truthfully, I’ve only vaguely been aware of it until the last couple of years and then uncertain, frankly, of where a white Southern woman whose family arrived in the US a couple of decades after the end of the Civil War fits into the celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation finally making its way to Texas nearly three years after it was issued.

This year I thought:

Why wouldn’t I celebrate the end of legal slavery in the United States? Why wouldn’t we all celebrate this greatest accomplishment in our country’s  242 year history?

And so I asked for suggestions and perspectives online. Did you know there are things other than shopping and trolls on the internet? It’s true!

I’m grateful to Zeanique Barber and Jessie McKeon who quickly offered info about their annual Juneteenth traditions:

  • Time with family and friends
  • Sharing the history of Juneteenth
  • Wearing red
  • Red lemonade because, as Zeanique posted, “Red is a significant color in West Africa for celebrations and when life gives you lemons you make lemonade… Red foods are customary… the crimson a symbol of ingenuity and resilience in bondage…”

Ingenuity and resilience. Just as you and I continue to grow toward our best selves, our country does the same. Just as our growth comes with aches and pains, doubt and even periods of despondency, our country does the same. Just as our journey is aided by our ability to practice ingenuity and resilience, so, too, is our country’s journey.

I hope you will also pause tomorrow and celebrate a time when our country took a big step toward what it could be, toward the foundational principles of equality stated in the Declaration of Independence.

We needed pauses. We need celebration. We need ingenuity and resilience because, friends, we have a lot of big steps left to take.

L’chaim – to life! To you, to us, to taking big steps together, in boundless community.