Editor’s note: The Portager publishes letters to the editor from the community. The opinions expressed are not published because they necessarily reflect those of the publication but because we feel they contribute meaningfully to the local discourse on matters of public interest.
Juneteenth is an important day of observance for all Americans. The day calls us to reflect upon the importance of studying the history and relevance of American enslavement of men and women from Africa and of the 1863 Proclamation of Emancipation which took over two years to enforce. Juneteenth also honors the resilience of descendants of those enslaved who have persevered despite massive barriers to equality and freedom. And the holiday reminds us that there is more work needed in the fight for equal rights for all in today’s American society.
To raise awareness of opportunities to learn more about the meaning of Juneteenth, past and present, the Kent InterFaith Alliance (KIFA) for Racial Reconciliation and Justice has compiled a list of Kent area houses of worship that will be honoring the significance of the Juneteenth holiday during their worship on June 19.
The following will be recognizing Juneteenth during their worship services:
Christ Episcopal of Kent
First Christian Church of Kent
Cornerstone of Aurora
Kent United Methodist Church.
Two churches are dedicating their entire worship services to the significance of Juneteenth and the ramifications of slavery. Spelman Chapel AME church in Kent offered a worship service on the “Juneteenth Experience” last Sunday with guest preacher, the Rev. Errenous E. McCloud, Jr., Bishop of the 3rd Episcopal District of the AME Church.
On June 19, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Kent will host guest poet Mwatabu Okantah from the Kent State Department of Africana Studies for its 10 a.m. worship service titled, “Juneteenth: Identity Reclaimed.” Poetry and music will lift up the journey of descendants of enslaved Africans to reclaim their heritage and forge an identity as Africans in America. All are welcome in-person or on Zoom. Information can be found at kentuu.org.
KIFA looks forward to future critical discussions on honest history, multicultural understanding and strategizing for racial justice. Watch KIFA’s Facebook page for details of public events.