Juneteenth - "Freedom Day"

Each year on June 19 we celebrate and remember the Emancipation of Slaves across the United States.  The significance of the date is that it was on June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas that US Army General Gordon Granger read the federal order freeing all slaves held in the State of Texas.  At the time Texas was the most remote slave state and despite the Emancipation Proclamation being signed by President Lincoln two years earlier, news of the end of slavery had not yet reach Texas.  It was on that date that all slaves were finally freed. 

On Friday June 19, 2020 at 5 pm PT Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY) held a Juneteenth Community Conversation on-line.  The focus of the conversation will be on Bryan Stevenson's inspirationational work over the last 35 years fighting to correct injustices in the American criminal justice system  The recent movie "Just Mercy" told the story of one man's case - Walter McMillian - of wrongful conviction.

RJOY invites you to join them for a Freedom Day facilitated discussion of Bryan Stevenson's inspirational pursuit of justice.  It is important that we reflect on this moment of reckoning in the year 2020 and engage in a conversation acknowledging how far we've come and imagine where this cultural shift is challenging us to go. 

Visit Bryan Stevenson's website - Equal Justice Initiative.

Independence Day

4th of July fireworks2

Happy 4th of July 2020

While the nation celebrates its independence from British colonial rule, it is important to remember that the meaning of this day is very different for people of color - particularly decendents of slaves.  Actor Daveed Diggs captures this difference in a dramatic reading of Frederick Douglass' words from a speech given over one hundred years ago.  Scenes of racial injustice today provide a powerful backdrop.  It simply asks -- When will America Live Up to Its Ideals for ALL people?