by Kathryn Forsythe, chair of the Matthew 25 Ministry
On June 19, 1865, Major Gen. Gordon Granger led Union soldiers into Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and slavery was abolished – two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
He announced General Orders Number 3, which read in part:
The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves,
Absolute equality – wow. That is something that, unfortunately, we still have not attained, as the descendants of those enslaved people in Texas who heard that proclamation still deal with racism and its effects every day.
On Sunday, June 19, Matthew 25 Ministry for Social Justice provided a "Taste of Juneteenth" – with strawberries and red velvet cupcakes from local Black-owned cupcakery and creamery, Small Cakes, in addition to detailed display with info and materials about the history and importance of Junteenth (in the Narthex between the atrium and the fellowship hall).
We encourage you to take the time to learn more about the power and significance of Juneteenth. But as you do so, remember. Remember why we celebrate Juneteenth, and remember the descendants of those enslaved people in Galveston and their brothers and sisters – OUR brothers and sisters in Christ – and the racism that impacts them every day. That makes it harder to buy a house, go to college. That can make it dangerous to drive a car, go to the grocery store, go for a jog.
We hope you enjoyed the celebration and took a moment to read the information on Juneteenth on display, and to consider how you can help make a difference.