On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3, which shared the news of the Emancipation Proclamation with the residents of Texas. Although the Civil War was already over, it took this action to formally free the last of the enslaved people in this country. In celebration and commemoration of that order, June 19 is celebrated as Juneteenth, marking the emancipation of all enslaved people in the United States.
In the 156 years since then the fight for racial justice has continued. There have been moments of great success, like the passage of the Civil Rights Act, and moments of great tragedy like the Tulsa race massacre. People of color have risen to high office in federal and state governments, and continue to experience unfair treatment in communities all around the nation.
For the past year and a half, many members of Temple Beth El have engaged in conversations around race and racial equity. We were blessed to be guided by our friends at the Thrive Collective in Delray Beach. As Thrive partner Sara Selznick taught us this past February, when it comes to fighting inequity, “learning is doing.” And so with their help and support, we are proud to continue our learning journey through this newsletter, Equality. We share this newsletter on this day as a commemoration of Juneteenth, that its message of equality will continue to reverberate in the years to come.
As we open this new chapter in our work, may we be inspired by the words of Torah to pursue justice for all our neighbors as we do for ourselves.