June is an exciting month. We are honoring love and freedom by recognizing both Pride Month and Juneteenth.
If you are not familiar with these two June commemorations, here is a brief explanation:
- Juneteenth (19th) – also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day – is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States.
- Pride Month — when the world’s LGBT+ communities come together and celebrate the freedom to be themselves.
These June celebrations may sound foreign or unnecessary if you are white and/or ‘straight’. Like many people, I unknowingly grew up and lived mostly in white privilege. Although the area in California where I lived had lots of Asians and Hispanics, there were no black folks nor many openly gay people.
After finishing high school, I moved to San Francisco for a year at a career college. What a major change from my white privilege upbringing!
Living in San Francisco was an education all in itself. I moved there on the tail end of the hippy movement and the beginning of the gay movement. The annual gay marches were in their second or third year — marching less than a mile from where I lived. Along with the openly LGBT+ residents, there were plenty of blacks in the workplace, stores, and walking the streets near my apartment. I took this all in as I was open and curious about other lifestyles and beliefs.
Why are these June celebrations necessary?
Observing the open rejection and exclusion of these groups, I understand why they have organized celebrations like Pride Month and Juneteenth. What I don’t understand is all the hatred and discrimination of these folks (or any other minority group). Aren’t we all children of the One — created in the image of our Creator?
Looking back through history, I see where America (and parts of the world) excluded, sectioned off, isolated, and even killed certain groups of people — all because they were somehow different. Was this due to fear? Do we fear something we don’t understand?
Obviously, I don’t understand the plight of black people — but I do see the injustices done to them. And as a happily-married heterosexual woman, I don’t understand the LGBT+ lifestyle either! But I understand love and acceptance despite skin color, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, etc.
So, I want to celebrate this month by honoring love and freedom for ALL. Not just for myself but for the marginalized people of our country. Practicing love and acceptance towards everyone, even when we don’t understand them, is more important than fear or hate.
Will you join me in putting love ahead of hate and acceptance before exclusion? After all, love does promote healing.