June is a month that usually has everyone joyfully celebrating a number of things including Father’s Day, emancipation of slaves on Juneteenth, cancer survivors, and the natural beauty of parks and scenic open spaces around the country. Celebrating is a way of acknowledging joy; however, this year brings with it little joyful expression as the mental, physical, and emotional health of Americans is being affected by many viruses – not just COVID, but also the ongoing social outcry against racism, violence, inequality, and social injustice that was reawakened by the murder of George Floyd.
This Year, Perhaps We Honor Instead Of Celebrating
Celebration is often directed at an event, while honor is usually to a person. If you or someone you know is a cancer survivor, I hope you honored this amazing accomplishment on the First Sunday of the month and celebrated them by truly showing your appreciation in a heartfelt way.
Family Health & Fitness Day, celebrated on June 13, promotes the importance of parks and recreation in keeping communities healthy. The relevance of this has never been so clearly understood as families and individuals turn to nature as the dominant place for relaxing activities during social distancing and its associated stress. We are fortunate to have so many places in which to breathe fresh air, spend time with our loved ones, and be grateful for our health.
On a more somber note, is the critical importance of Juneteenth and Father’s Day this year. Most of us thinks of June as the month we celebrate Fathers. We recognize the roles they play in our lives, and shop for that precious gift that shows our appreciation. However, Father’s Day takes on a more solemn tone, as we remember that there are many children who have lost their fathers since last Father’s Day – George Floyd’s little daughter being at the top of the list, amongst many others in years past. Furthermore, many people have also lost their fathers to COVID-19. Additionally, the proclamation of Juneteenth should have been the official end of slavery, but it was not the end of racial prejudice. This gives Juneteenth a place of even greater significance this year.
I go into greater depth about Father’s Day and the importance of Juneteenth in this month’s article which I hope you will read (Available here: Juneteenth And Father’s Day Require Greater Awareness This Year).
I hope future generations will be celebrating Juneteenth as a day that marks the beginning of true freedom for all people of color. Just as we all had a part to play in flattening the curve of COVID-19 by social distancing, we all have an active part to play in finding a cure to our nation’s system of injustice and inequality. We are living in historic times, and it is my hope that we are moving forward into greater acceptance, equality, justice, and love for all people as we remember to love God and love one another.