Juneteenth Becomes a Federal Holiday

via Washington Post:

President Biden on Thursday signed into law a measure that establishes Juneteenth as a federal holiday, taking advantage of sudden and broad bipartisan agreement to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States after years of debate and inaction.

In signing the measure — which resulted in an unexpected day off Friday for federal workers — Biden also used the occasion to advocate for more aggressive action on voting access and other racial equity measures that have been at the heart of his administration’s agenda.

“Great nations don’t ignore their most painful moments. They embrace them,” Biden said in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House. “Great nations don’t walk away. We come to terms with mistakes we made. And remembering those moments, we begin to heal and grow stronger.”

Christine Emba writes:

A cynic — or simply a realist — would remind us that symbolic change is not the same as substantive improvement. Anti-racist reading lists haven’t stopped Black Americans from being killed by the police. Corporate diversity, equity and inclusion workshops haven’t closed the racial wealth gap.

The Senate may have voted in favor of recognizing Juneteenth, but the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is still withering away waiting for the Senate to act. The For the People Act and its voting rights protections are all but dead. And some of the same senators who voted in favor of a new Black holiday are sponsoring legislation that would ban the teaching of our country’s racist history.

A new holiday won’t fix the material injustices that continue to fall most heavily on Black America: poverty, state violence, incarceration, environmental hazards, poor access to health care, a legacy of financial discrimination and limitations on political power. In fact, symbolic wins more often serve to let their champions off the hook. “Your national greatness, swelling vanity; … your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery,” Douglass said.

But symbols accomplish something, too.

The debates over statues, the fury over the New York Times’s 1619 Project, the Republican horror at the teaching of “critical race theory” in public schools should be signs that even the symbolic holds some value. If these smaller declarations didn’t have power, would they be seen as such a threat?

How Racism Degrades and Denies the True Nature of the Human Person

Gloria Purvis is the host of The Gloria Purvis Podcast, produced in collaboration with America Media. A radio and media personality, she has appeared in various media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, PBS Newshour, and EWTN News Nightly. She previously hosted Morning Glory, an international radio show. In this episode, she describes her commitment to upholding the dignity of every person, the faith that inspires that commitment, systemic racism, the response of pro-lifers to persistent racial injustice, and her new podcast.

Co-hosts Kristen Day and Robert Christian discuss the Supreme Court’s decision to hear a case that centers on a Mississippi law that would prohibit most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, new voter suppression laws and efforts to strengthen democracy and secure voting rights, recent events on the Hyde Amendment, and a letter to Congress on paid leave and sick days, accommodations for pregnant workers, and efforts to reduce inequity and improve infant and maternal health. They also discuss this month’s question of the month: Are we looking at the end of the Hyde Amendment?

This episode can be found on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and below. You can support the show here: https://support.democratsforlife.org/product/2EFF09A/whole-life-rising

Remembering the Tulsa Race Massacre

Here are some recent articles on the Tulsa Race Massacre, as people reflect upon the 100th anniversary:

What the Tulsa Race Massacre Destroyed by NY Times: “    Imagine a community of great possibilities and prosperity built by Black people for Black people. Places to work. Places to live. Places to learn and shop and play. Places to worship. Now imagine it being ravaged by flames.”

Tulsa isn’t the only race massacre you were never taught in school. Here are others. by Gillian Brockell: “With President Biden commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre Tuesday, many Americans are learning for the first time about the nation’s long history of racist rampages, particularly during (but not limited to) the period from the 1870s to the 1920s — considered by many a nadir in the fight for Black civil rights.”

What I’ve Learned Teaching the Tulsa Race Massacre for Two Decades by Hannibal B. Johnson: “Learning this history is necessary if we are to advance toward racial reconciliation, but it is not sufficient. We also must build trust across racial groups. In Tulsa, trust was among the casualties of the massacre, and restoring it remains difficult and is ongoing. But it is possible.”

5 Lessons the Tulsa Race Massacre Teaches Us about Racism Today by Jemar Tisby: “Against those who believe that if Black people simply acquire enough wealth then they will be able to escape the worst impacts of racism, the Tulsa Race Massacre cries out in protest.”

Pregnancy Loss and Fathers

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

Millennial Catholic Chris Crawford writes:

Earlier that day, we had excitedly discussed announcing our pregnancy in Mother’s Day cards. She was now inside the hospital undergoing her first ultrasound, while I was in the car, unable to enter the hospital due to COVID-19 precautions.

When the appointment ended, she rushed out, tears streaming down her face. “There’s nothing there,” she said as she grabbed hold of me. “There’s nothing there.”

Her words knocked the wind out of me. This was the start of a difficult journey that has tested our marriage and faith, but ultimately strengthened us in both. I’ve dealt with grief, numbness, guilt and loneliness. There are millions of men who travel this road with me, but there are surprisingly few resources for us.

In such situations, men have a patron to turn to for help. St. Joseph knew difficult journeys. He knew great hardship and wrestled with how best to follow God’s will. In this Year of St. Joseph, I’ve been reflecting on the ways that he is the perfect saint to accompany men who have lost a child in utero.

The lack of certainty regarding the future is one of the greatest challenges for fathers of children lost to miscarriage — especially those of us who have no other children. The loss of a child is devastating in its own right; it also reminds us of the uncertainty about our life’s direction. We wonder now if we will ever have children. If our wives take a positive pregnancy test in the future, we know that celebration may be subdued by uncertainty that claws at our joy.

While we can’t expect clarity, we aren’t left alone. In the silence of prayer and adoration, in conversations with those close to us, we allow God to guide us to holiness and show us the way. We pray for a faith like St. Joseph — the ability to say “yes” as challenges appear, and the grace to respond wholeheartedly to God’s call.

You can read the full essay here.

Pope Francis: Sports is a Medicine for the Sadness, Isolation of Individualism

Photo by Kalle Schmitz on Unsplash

via Vatican News:

The Holy Father also underscored the relationship between the Church and the world of sport, which has been cultivated with the awareness that “both, in different ways, are at the service of the integral growth of the person and can offer a valuable contribution to our society.”…

“Two things are important: being united and having a goal,” the Pope said, adding that in this sense, sports become “a medicine for the individualism of our societies,” which sometimes creates isolated, sad individuals incapable of being “team players” and of “cultivating a passion for good ideals.”

Commitment to sports, the Pope continued, reminds us of “the value of fraternity, which is also at the heart of the Gospel.”…

Speaking further, he noted that discipline is not only physical, but also internal, as it requires “physical exercise, constancy, attention to an orderly life in schedules and nutrition, as well as rest alternated with the fatigue of training.”

This discipline, the Pope continued, “is a school of formation and education,” especially for young people, as, in the words of St. Ignatius of Loyola, it helps “put one’s life in order”.

At the same time, it “is not meant to make us rigid, but to make us responsible: for ourselves, for the things entrusted to us, for others, for life in general.”