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For most of us, who have not grown up in the African - American Community, have not been privileged to both the powerfully rich history and many times neglected, and even tragic events endured by communities of color. I for one, who proclaims myself to be an historian, but also viewing history from a white male perspective had never considered African-American history in my own historiography. I have been awed, inspired and indeed ashamed of myself for taking such a narrow view of our American history as a whole.

Isaiah 58:12 in his prophesies says

“Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;

you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;

you shall be called the repairer of the breach,

the restorer of streets to live in.”

This verse is the background for us as Christians, and we as Episcopalians particularly to use in our attempts to reconciliation between people of many colors, cultures, and religions.

With this in mind, I am sharing with you a reflection about “Juneteenth” and what it is all about. With information and knowledge, rather than ignorance and apathy, perhaps all of us can find a way to help “repair the breach,” thus celebrating our unity within the diversity of race, ethnicity, sexual identity, and other means which separates us from one another.

Dr. Renee Escoffery-Torres, a member of the “Repairers of the Breach” commission of the Diocese has offered some reflections about Juneteenth as it approaches, as well as some suggestions for how to mark and honor the day. Dr. Escoffery-Torres has been engaged in various lay leadership roles in the Diocese of Southern Virginia. She currently serves as a member of the vestry at St. Cyprian’s, is the Vice President of the Diocesan Episcopal Church Women (ECW), as well as the Parliamentarian for ECW in Province III. In addition, she is a member of The Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

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