HAPPY JUNETEENTH!

JUNETEENTH. It’s not a “federal” holiday but it is recognized in almost all of the states/territories of the United States – the exceptions (shamefully) are Hawaii and South Dakota. For people outside the United States, Juneteenth is the day the last slaves were freed 2.5 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Texas was the hold out and dared to keep slaves even though their freedom had been decreed years earlier. Next to Independence Day (July 4th) I can think of no better reason for a holiday than to celebrate the day when America ended the overt enslavement of it’s own citizens of color. My God, why is this not a National/Federal holiday already? But enough preaching.
Here is my Juneteenth playlist. Enjoy.

Let’s kick it off with Pharell Williams FREEDOM

A blast from the past Kool And The Gange – CELEBRATE

A classic; The Staple Singers – I’LL TAKE YOU THERE

Michael Franti – GOOD TO BE ALIVE TODAY

While African Americans formed the largest portion of slaves, it also included all people of color – including the various tribes of Indigenous Americans and hispanics. Buffy Saint Marie – CARRY IT ON

Redbone – COME AND GET YOUR LOVE

And even though we are in the midst of a cultural revolution – now is NOT the time to stop. Ozomatli – CAN’T STOP!

Shaun Martin – ONE BIG PARTY

Knowing the conversation that MUST continue to happen if we will move forward as a species. We must be fearless. The Neville Brothers – FEARLESS

A reminder of what it’s about and why we should celebrate – Cynthia Erivo – STAND UP from the movie HARRIET (based on the life of Harriet Tubman)

Bonus Track – reality check – We are still a long way from where we need to be in our evolution of humanity. There is still racism and bias. The revolution must continue.
Nina Simone – AIN’T GOT NO (from the musical HAIR)

… on… a new baby….

I created a couple of Haiku’s to go with this favorite non-traditional Christmas song.

Heard the baby cry
Neighbors gently hush back to sleep
Thin walls breathe hope

Young woman, young man
Their Christmas gift arrived early
Joy all season long

 

Father’s Day…another American holiday to loathe

So last week I went to the greeting card store to purchase a fathers day card.
Scccrreeeeeech (sound of needle being dragged across vinyl) For those who are familiar with my work you may ask, “Why not just make him one of your own artwork?” Well the simple answer is that he doesn’t care for my work. Which is fine. Different strokes for different folks.
Now, on with the story.
If you are in America there is nothing more cliche than holidays, which is why I loathe them so much. The best thing about (most) holidays is that it just means I don’t have to go to work that day.
But everything else is pure cliche and pablum.
Father’s Day is no different. When shopping for a Fathers Day card and this is echoed in news stories and media coverage, you will find everything narrowed down to the following 5 subjects many of which are combined in some sort of competition:

  1. (humorous) Grilling
  2. (humorous) Sports (fishing, golfing etc)
  3. (humorous) Power Tools
  4. (humorous) traditional gifts satire (tie, socks etc)
  5. (serious) Thank you/Religious/Inspirational

Now this is just extremely disappointing, frustrating and maddening.  I think the greeting card industry should be boycotted for all the garbage it sells. On top of that every news program has some sort of Father’s Day “gift list” which includes gifts of/related to …you guessed it… grilling, sports & power tools.

Of course it’s even sadder that almost no one questions this stuff – it’s just accepted blindly as the norm.   So, goodbye individual expression and creativity.   Out the window and down the garbage disposal.  Father’s Day is just another holiday to loathe.

So what kind of card did I end up with?  A sound gadget grilling card.  The front states, “I’d like to give you a big grilled steak for Father’s Day” and when you open it up you see the picture of a cow (that actually mooo’s) and the words, “It just isn’t cooked yet”

I feel so unclean.

A Christmas Prayer

Lord God,

Father in Heaven

Thank you for this day

Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth

A man who would be, and did, become Messiah

The hope of all Israel and all of humanity

A man who taught, and showed us,

That we CAN have a relationship directly with you.

In this way he was the door, the gate,

Through which your spirit that dwells within us

Has been awakened.

We thank you for this awakening that removes all Hindrance

Even if that separation is political, social, religious

And now we thank you for this meal

And time of togetherness between family and friends

We bless this meal in the name of Jesus

That it may give us physical strength and stamina

We bless you that you may give us the mental and spiritual  strength and stamina

To be a blessing to others we come in contact with;

Removing all wrong perceptions

In Jesus name, Amen.

I believe the best prayers are not prayers of thanks and requests (or to use consumerism terms – supply and demand).  The best prayers are when we pray what we believe – not what we want or hope for.   For example when we pray the Lords prayer do we hope these things are true that are mentioned OR do we really believe them?  And how do we believe them?

Maybe some day I’ll dissect and expound on the Lords prayer specifically.

But for now – Merry Christmas everyone.  Enjoy one of my favorite Christmas songs.