Recently I had the opportunity to stand on a bridge where the Pacific Ocean, a freshwater stream, and natural hot springs intersect. As I absorbed the interconnectedness of the waters, I thought of the interconnection we have as humans and the full display as we celebrate Juneteenth and Pride.
Juneteenth has achieved the national recognition that many Black elders desired by becoming the eleventh federal holiday. Opal Lee an activist and advocate said:
The fact is that none of us are free till we’re all free…we just celebrate the hell out of the 4th of July, so I suggest that we’re going to do some celebrating of freedom, that we have our festival, our educational components, our music, from June the 19---Juneteenth---to the 4th of July. Now that would be celebrating freedom.
Opal Lee’s wisdom speaks to our interdependence and the idea that celebrating our collective freedom is an expansive act. It is an invitation to celebrate freedom from chattel enslavement and the freedom of those in the LGBTQIA+ community. When we see the freedom struggles, resistance, resilience, and joy of marginalized peoples, we expand our understanding that supremacy is limiting and dangerous while affirming our societal need to transform.
Andra Day offers her vision of our transformed society in her metaphor of people being a single human body and us rising to help, to celebrate, to live vibrantly together in her song “Rise Up”.
What will our transformed society look like? What do you envision? What will you do to make transformation happen? - dbk