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,
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, here are some ways you can do that.
First, and foremost, 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.
If you have any of the following items to donate to the Care Center, please email me and we can coordinate a drop off time:
Newborn and baby clothes—faded is okay, but stained or damaged is not
Children’s toys—used is okay, but broken is not
Gently used clothes and shoes—faded is okay, but stained or damaged is not
Household items such as vacuum cleaners, lamps, small appliances—old is okay, but broken is not
Computer monitors, printers, chargers, and cell phones—old is okay, but broken is not
Books for children and adults, English and Spanish—used is okay, damaged is not
If you are interested in gardening at the Freedom Farm and/or you have any gardening items you can donate, please email me. One big item the Freedom Farm needs is a WT5C Mobile Water Trailer with Centrifugal Pump, which costs $15,000.
Do you know someone who had one of these water trailers on a job site that they no longer need? If yes, please email me. If no, please consider contributing toward a water trailer.
Would you or your children like to help at the FREEdom Store on Tuesdays. If so, please email the Lila Duran, the FREEdom Store Volunteer Coordinator.
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.