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Ancestral Healing Convention coming to Washington, DC 2023
By a Texan Native Son
This story was originally published on "Word in Black" The Texas-birthed holiday of Juneteenth is a very interesting holiday, to say the least. See, I, a native-born Texan, have two Yankee parents. As such, I’ve been able to hear both sides of the “idea” of Juneteenth, and now am at a final resting place for my attitude about this NEW celebration of what used to be a regional observance. I’m ok with it. Let me explain; I love the idea of Juneteenth. It’s simple to me. Civil War ended, white folks were trippin’, army had to come in, let everybody know what’s up. Easy right? I thought so too…but then the other side came in. Now, for the sake of fairness, I do get some of the opposition that was very prevalent in my younger days. It’s kind of strange to celebrate the late arrival of emancipation, however, I also didn’t understand why others cared so much when this wasn’t a national thing. It was for us Texans. Then an elder of mine stated plainly, “They don’t like that we celebrate our freedom, because they don’t celebrate theirs. And never have. But will celebrate the fourth of July like it meant something.” And there it was: clarity. The line had been drawn in the sand and I now stood firmly on the side of Juneteenth.
Opal Lee is known around the world as “the grandmother of Juneteenth,” but she thinks of herself as “just a little old lady in tennis shoes meddling in everyone’s business.” June 15 will mark one year since she received the pen that President Joe Biden used to signed Senate Bill S. 475 into law, making Juneteenth the eleventh recognized national holiday and the first since Martin Luther King Jr. Day, in 1986. This was an effort Lee has spent her entire life working toward. In 2016, she laced up her sneakers and made her first 1,400-mile walk to D.C. to formally ask President Barack Obama to do what would take another five years to accomplish. During our chat in early May, she reflected on that moment, how much work it took to get there, how much work remains. But first, she said she was looking forward to catching up with an old friend, a now-valuable pastime. “We’re meeting for lunch and a good talking,” she said. “I’m doing very nicely,” she added, “as busy as a cat on a hot tin roof.” Juneteenth marks June 19, 1865, the date Union soldiers arrived in Galveston to inform enslaved Black people of their freedom—two-and-a-half years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Opal Lee’s efforts to recognize the day began many years earlier. Her appearance at the signing of the Juneteenth law was the culmination of decades of ingenuity and resilience. Lee has always been a connector of people and someone in pursuit of outreach.
The Ancestral Healing Conference is an annual experience and opportunity to self-educate and re-educate. IACT's goal and purpose is to provide a voice for the voiceless, understanding to the misunderstood, the breath of life for the living and the opportunity of choice to grow and heal through continuing education based on the spiritual principles of African Centered Thought!
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