I’m in Tucson, Arizona today–Juneteenth–for the Institute of Noetic Sciences 13th International Conference. No matter how hot it gets (weather report forecasting 107!) I’m glad to be here; blessed to be able to work again with Belvie Rooks. Our first presentation was at the Denver Green Festival in May. Our session on “Hard Truths about the Legacy of Slavery” takes place tomorrow.

Juneteenth: on June 19, 1865 Union General Gordon Granger brought the news of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation to Galveston, Texas. A quarter of a million enslaved people were thus belatedly freed in Texas some 2 1/2 years after Lincoln signed the executive order. Juneteenth is celebrated by many African American people as “Black Independence Day.”

In addition to the conference for adults there is a full Youth Program. I’ve been asked to lead one of several sessions today for middle and high school youth on what they’re calling “Rainbow Day: Race Relations” which is perfect for Juneteenth. I’ll be talking with middle and high school students about “Healing People and Communities: Breaking the Cycles of Violence.” I’ll be sharing with them information I’ve learned through the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University.

Happy Juneteenth everyone. What more important event can we celebrate than liberation?