Today is Juneteenth.  It’s a day to celebrate the end of slavery. I’d almost forgotten about it, which shows how removed I am from the news while on vacation.  If I had been paying attention I would have heard it is being given special attention in Charleston, South Carolina, as a response to the killing of members of an African American church that happened there a few days ago.

Juneteenth honors the day when a ship arriving in Galveston, Texas, brought the news that the Civil War was over and the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Lincoln two years earlier was now the law everywhere.  It’s not as widely celebrated as it should be.

Two days from now, June 21, is both World Humanist Day and the solstice.  Apparently the Humanists, after disagreeing about the day, settled on the solstice because (in the northern hemisphere) this is the day with the most light – an allusion to the enlightened mind that Humanists are trying to encourage in all of us.

The solstice, in contrast, is a day which has been honored since people figured out the cycle of the sun.

I think we should celebrate them all: the end of slavery as a legal institution in the U.S., the opportunity to think for ourselves, free of dogma, and the old, old cycle of the earth’s movement around the sun.

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