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“According to Jesus here, what determines whether a person’s path leads to heaven or to hell is the way they treat others: whether they have endeavored in their own ways, no matter how large or small, to remove obstacles to the satisfaction of others’ real needs; whether they have tried to ease the systemically imposed suffering of those unjustly held in the hellish depths of prisons, and so on. In other words, people will be judged by whether they have endeavored to live lives leavened by the divine imperative of social justice…” – Christians Against Christianity: How Right-Wing Evangelicals Are Destroying Our Faith and Our Nation by Obery M. Hendricks, Jr.

Belief, Christianity, Faith, Fighting Poverty, Food Justice, Grace, Marginalized, Persistence, Quotes, Relationships, Responsibility, Revival, Social Justice, Spirituality

“We must proclaim the truth that all life is one and that we are all of us tied together. Therefore, it is mandatory that we work for a society in which the least person can find refuge and refreshment… You must lay your lives on the altar of social change so that wherever you are, there the Kingdom of God is at hand!” – Howard Thurman, Commencement address, Garrett Biblical Institute, 1943

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Extra Special Juneteenth (Thank you Ms. Opal!)

The Juneteenth Festival this weekend will be a special celebration, both here in Fort Worth and nationally. A signing ceremony in the East Wing of the White House made Juneteenth, the 19th of June, a National Holiday. Words cannot express the joy and pride I felt as I watched President Biden sign the bill and hand a pen to our beloved Ms. Opal. Many prayers have been answered. Let the celebration begin!

Tuesday, the Senate unanimously passed the bill and sent it over to the House where it passed with bipartisan support on Wednesday. I’m at Opal’s Farm all day so I didn’t here of the passage until last night’s 10 o’clock news. I never call anyone after 10:00 PM (I was taught a call after 10:00 better involve blood or it was completely socially unacceptable), but I had to call Ms. Opal right away. “You did it”, I cried.

“No, WE did it”, she said. “There have been so many people along the way who made this happen”.

I wouldn’t have expected any other answer. That’s the kind of person she is. I’ve learned much about true humility from Ms. Opal, but she earned the title “Mother of Juneteenth” from her many years of persistence and dedication to a vision. Many others worked to make this day a reality, but it was a “little old lady in white tennis shoes that gets in everybody’s business” (her description, not mine) that blazed the path forward.

She personifies Juneteenth. That’s why the holiday has come to mean so much to me. Her constant reminder that “no one’s free until we all are free” echoes through all we do at Unity Unlimited, Inc. and Opal’s Farm. I’m amazed and proud I get to be a part of it all.

I’ve had the honor and privilege of serving as the Farm Manager for Opal’s Farm for the last three years. I’ve listened to the stories and the history that I never knew. One story has always stood out. On Juneteenth, 1929, when she was only twelve years old, her family home was burned down by a white mob upset by a Black family moving into their neighborhood. I’d heard the story through media reports, but it was Ms. Opal who told me the one detail that had the greatest impact on me. She told me she decided that day so long ago “that I was going to hate what they did, but I wasn’t going to hate them” (the white mob).

That a twelve-year-old girl could have that spirit of love and forgiveness was astonishing to me. It makes perfect sense when you see her today. I’ve learned more about loving and forgiving others in the last three years than I did in the previous fifty!

Ms. Opal, I’m so proud to be a small, small part of your journey. Thank you for all you have done – not just for me, but for all of us. I’ve prayed diligently for this day. To see you honored in the East Wing of the White House by President Biden, Vice-President Harris, and so many members of Congress was the

was an honor to know, love, and be loved by you. It still doesn’t make my heart swell as much as when you said you were my grandmother too!

That being said…

Opal’s Farm will not be a Cowtown Farmers Market this weekend. We’ll be with Unity Unlimited, Inc., Ms. Opal, and hundreds of others for an extra special and one-of-a-kind celebration. Please join us at 10:00 AM for our walk with Ms. Opal from Evans Plaza to the Tarrant County Courthouse. The celebration continues with the I Am Juneteenth Festival at Panther Island Pavilion beginning at 3:00 PM and followed by fireworks at 9 PM. What a better way to begin celebrating freedom for us all.

Image: President Joe Biden hands a pen to Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., after signing the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, in the East Room of the White House on June 17, 2021.
Activism, Beatitudes, Belief, Christian Mysticism, Christianity, Community, Courage, Faith, Fighting Poverty, Food Justice, Hope, Prayer, Quotes, Racism, Relationships, Social Justice, Spirituality

“We must proclaim the truth that all life is one and that we are all of us tied together. Therefore, it is mandatory that we work for a society in which the least person can find refuge and refreshment… You must lay your lives on the altar of social change so that wherever you are, there the Kingdom of God is at hand!” – Howard Thurman, Commencement address, Garrett Biblical Institute, 1943