I’ve come to love Juneteenth so much that there are a few other names I keep finding myself calling it. These are: How Nice For You Day And, We Are Not Fools Day And, How Far, So Far Day And, Universe! Ancestors! Stop Playin’ Day! And, the name that sums up Juneteenth for me is Sankofa Day. It gets me especially choked up and misty-eyed.
I’m trusting that many of you will see the reasons for these other names. You might already be guessing how they arose.
First, I think of Juneteenth as “How Nice For You Day”. Because, how nice for North American history and culture to finally have an official day celebrating the end of their centuries of enslaving people. Of being enslavers. As my Mother would say: ”They had to be dragged kicking and screaming” to do it! And later, they had to be dragged kicking and screaming” to make it a US holiday.
It’s got me hearing the song “This Is America” by Childish Gambino in my mind. Because for me, Juneteenth is We Are Not Fools Day. Like a lot of people, I wasn’t originally taught that the Emancipation Proclamation freed less than half of the enslaved. It took years before I even heard of Juneteenth, or how it counted as the formal end of enslavement in America.
And then, for generations, we still had the cheating, whitewashed version of enslavement called sharecropping to deal with. Just look up Lena Baker. In 1945 a plantation owner treated her like his slave. It cost her, but she fought back, relieved him of his gun and permanently relieved him of his…privileges. Until the 1970s, at least, some villains got away with outright slavery in places deep in the rural south. Plus, there’s the near-slavery that migrant workers of all colours endured! Oh!… And then, there’s America’s convict-slavery loophole which permitted prison labour in chain gangs outdoors and indoors in prison factories where most of our office chairs might still be made. The intersections of poor sharecroppers, migrant workers, and prison labour — of all colours lays bare the truth that racism was always only a gimmick for controlling people and stealing their land, resources, and labour — as efficiently as possible. May others celebrate this holiday with us, reminded that freedom for everyone assures Freedom for Everyone!!!
And then, I learned about the school-to-prison pipeline! It’s as surely a slave trade route as the Trans Atlantic and Internal US slave-trade routes were. Well, now we see it. And, the more people know about this — the sooner it’ll be dismantled and abolished. So yeah, we are not fools — we see the layers of systemic racism and neo-slavery.
This is why I celebrate Juneteenth as How Far, So Far Day! Because…despite ALL of these centuries of things constructed to bring us down — and although there’s still more to deal with…it’s amazing that we kept fighting through. It is a triumph for all of Humanity. So, on Juneteenth, I celebrate how far we’ve come.
But, let me tell you about an extra special one: Universe! Ancestors! Stop Playin’ Day! Well, since Juneteenth occurs right in the midst of Pride month, it’s as if the Universe and our Ancestors are making clear and loud points to African American people. And, for me, it’s like our Ancestors and the Universe are saying:
YOU ARE going to free yourself of the mental shackles, of enslavement as well as the physical shackles!
YOU WILL re-establish and reclaim your connections to the ancestral wealth and societal brilliance of your People!” Why?
Because 1: The simple fact is that embracing Humanity’s complex range of Gender Diversity was normal in our pre-invasion civilisations. It’s like the Universe is holding us to our Ancestors’ high standards! 2: We WILL NOT leave part of our family behind because colonizers and enslavers brainwashed African people into their way of small thinking about our Alphabet Family Members. We embrace the full scope of Humanity! And, 3: Prejudice against LGBTQIA+ people is not a traditional African Value. That means it is a revolutionary and restorative act to throw off this “phobic” part of colonial conditioning. LGBTQIA-phobia is as wrong as colorism, both were forced on us around the world. Other invaded peoples dealt with this toxic nonsense, too.
So, on Juneteenth, I remember that saying it’s better and more normal to be cis-Straight is as Colonially Insane as saying it’s better and more normal to have Straight “good” hair.
And PLEASE! Don’t rationalize Black homophobia by saying “Well…Black men were sexually assaulted by overseers and other male criminals during enslavement to humble and control them. So we shouldn’t tolerate ANYTHING that reminds us of that — like Black men having consensual same-sex relationships. BECAUSE! Black Women were sexually assaulted by overseers and male criminals, too! And, nobody’s saying that women must stop having consensual sexual relationships with men! Let our people go…ahead and have joyful, consensual relationships. Period. Celebrate us getting back to all of our Joy and true self-expression. Pride is part of how we get our own back.
It’s like the Universe is on our side, helping us and telling us we get to celebrate Juneteenth partying with rainbow flags waving, too; recognizing that Love is Love!
With Juneteenth during Pride, we also get to remember that African People who are proud and protective of their heritage also equally being proud and protective of our Trans, Gay, and Gender Non-Conforming Sisters, Brothers, and Siblings. Being so honours Africa and all the world’s Ancestors.
Pride with Juneteenth — a Proud Juneteenth? It also honours the impressive and indispensable contributions of Civil Rights Heroes like the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray and Bayard Rustin. They made essential contributions to our advancement toward true freedom! Juneteenth Pride is a fine time to watch the documentary called My Name Is Pauli Murray. It’s even streaming on Prime right now. Teach about THEM to our children! They prove that our LGBTQIA+ family has an honoured role in safeguarding and defending our Communities. We knew this before colonialism and enslavement disrupted our societies. That’s why I think the Universe and Our Ancestors showed up and showed out by placing these commemorations together.
And, you know what? For those unfamiliar with these way-makers — Pauli Murray and Bayard Rustin — we can still ask any homophobe who says they love their African American heritage if they have a problem with James Baldwin! He was LGBTQIA+, too. And, if they have a problem with Baldwin…Ask them “Whose side are you on? And, “Who are you really working for?” Even the words Pride and Juneteenth go together. Smh. Stop Playing, Universe!
All of these elements, all of these aspects of Juneteenth make it Sankofa Day. Sankofa means “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.” That’s why a symbol of Sankofa is of a bird with its feet pointing forward and its head reaching back to grab hold of a precious egg.
Celebrating Juneteenth recalls that jubilation and relief we felt on the 19th of June 1865. It also reminds us to reach back, beyond that day — through the centuries of enslavement and how we used our resourcefulness, endurance, anger, love, and wits to survive it. And, Juneteenth takes us back even further, to the time before our societies were invaded and disrupted. Back to when our families were whole. Let us reach back to gain what can be learned from those millennia, like the pride of our societies being inclusive. The richness of our Ancestors’ lives — before the colonial invasion is precious and worth reaching back for, remembering, making present in our lives, in our futures, in our world, and absolutely in our celebrations.
Happy Juneteenth! Here’s to a joyful world of true freedom and justice for everyone, everywhere.
Thank You, Steve Hardison aka The Ultimate Coach! Thank You – for creating the concept of this tool, and the practice of writing, memorising, and repeating it daily – to remind me of who I am Being with my words, intentions, and actions.
Thank You to Amy Blake Hardison and Dr. Alan D. Thompson for sharing it with readers like me, in your “Book of Being” entitled “The Ultimate Coach”.
AND, THANK YOU to Dr. Rain Warren! You invited me to read the book, join the Ultimate Coach FB group, write my own Document, and engage in the process “by observing who you are.”
May you consider exploring and writing a Document of your own, and sharing it – and who you are – with the World! Blessings
I’d really like to tell you that my Chip Coffey story starts with me watching the first season of Psychic Kids. That is where I first saw him. And, because I feel I should admit to you that in watching season one of Psychic Kids, I seemed to cry during each episode, because every time they helped a kid I took it personally.
It was not so much about helping me face up to being intuitive, too. It’s because I felt like what he said to support those children was what all children and especially gifted, highly sensitive, and “othered” children need to hear.
I think it’s what I wish I’d been told, as a kid: Accept yourself. Embrace who you are for all that makes you unique and different. Wonderful, and unique, and different. Explore and enjoy your abilities and differences – whatever they are. May we all normalise telling such things to all children. I deeply believe that being your “Truest Best Self” is your most precious gift to the world.
So yeah, I really wish I could tell you that was where this story starts – and I definitely got so much value from the show, but…
But, my Chip Coffey story really begins later, after my true love died – my husband Christian. I was so sad, and I missed him so much. It was all I could do to stay alive. Wherever Christian was – that’s where I wanted to be.
I had to make sense of it. Like many in grief, I wondered how he could be gone – and the world still go on! And, I wanted to hear from him, know he was all right. Know I hadn’t failed him, things like that…Imagine the things you might ask your true love, if you got to speak with them just one more time.
I knew that intuitive abilities were real because back then, I used to call myself uselessly psychic. Mainly, I got info like what song was about to play on the car radio, even if the channel was changed. My husband used to laugh and ask if I could tell him six numbers for the lottery?
Perhaps, I should have revealed to him that in my teens I’d wondered the same thing! How about giving me winning lottery numbers?! I came to a stand still in the aisle of my neighbourhood pharmacy when I heard an inner voice answer that it wasn’t my path, and to let others have it – I wouldn’t need it.
But, I did have dreams that came true – déjà vus and lucky hunches all over the place, since grade school – almost as far back as I can remember. They amounted to vague alerts about memorable events – personal and global. The déjà vus showed up like bookmarks in time. An odd part of being me. Somehow they made me feel like I was weird and I kept them to myself.
To hear from Christian, I needed someone gifted, practiced, and trustworthy. I thought about what to do – who fit that bill. I turned to Chip Coffey.
First year widow-grief is all kind of a blur to me. So now that I think of it, the episode that made up my mind was actually from another show – Paranormal State. Chip Coffey was on that one, too. It was about college students who did paranormal investigations. He was their expert.
In the episode that made up my mind, a family was being terrorized by frightening images in their house. They felt haunted or cursed, and sick with dread.
The family called on the team from Paranormal States for help. Chip Coffey went all over the house investigating. Then he told them that he did not perceive any strange energies or a presence in their house. He told them to contact their utility company because he suspected that they were really sick – suffering from a slow gas leak, or CO2 poisoning! It was making them see and feel these distressing things.
I was so impressed. No glory or clout chasing. No spirits needed his help into the light. Sure enough he was right. They were being poisoned. That’s what did it for me! What honesty and integrity! A psychic who’ll say “I don’t see anything!”
To me, that meant I could believe it better if he said he was in touch with my Christian. So, I contacted Chip Coffey. It wasn’t free, but it was worth it.
I can’t remember how many months it was after my husband had transitioned to non-physical. That’s what I call it, now. I recall that Mr. Coffey said it was still very soon to be reaching out to contact my husband and that it often takes 3-months or so for people to get accustomed. He told me that my husband was fine…and was glad that I missed him. Glad that I felt so for him. I truly did. In fact I was sad and numb all at the same time. I got to ask those maybe last chance questions. I even asked if my music loving husband could see his favourite Jazz Legends who were over there on the other side. Sara Vaughan? Carmen McRae? Louis Armstrong? Christian told us they were in a different part. The biggest things I can say are that he believed in me and knew I’d be all right – and would handle things. He told me where to find some documents, too. And, that he still loved me. Chip Coffey said that what I could do for Christian was send him Love. That it would help him. Strengthen him. So I tried to, and felt guilty because in the moment, I felt so drained, like a lighter or match that just wouldn’t catch.
For days and months after, I did my best to make up for it. I’d fill myself up with the feeling of love, then send it on to him. Chip also said I could just speak directly to Christian. It was weird, mainly because I was embarrassed to talk with Chip like an operator listening on the line!
But it was a precious experience. Mr. Coffey was very kind. At the start of our session he’d even made gentle small talk about where I lived and how he sometimes had to visit my area. I think he was trying to calm me. I wish I’d been less awestruck, and said what was on my heart – that he was welcome in my humble home.
At the very end of the call I did one more thing. I couldn’t help it, or pass up the chance: I asked Mr. Coffey if he picked up on whether I had any psychic abilities, because I thought I did…I’d put the feeling to bed forever if he told me no. After all, he was the man who helped affirm those young people. He paused, and then his voice sounded somehow deeper, very firm and serious. “Yes. But, you don’t listen. They say you don’t listen. They say you have got to listen. You’ve got to listen.”
I thanked him and I started listening. And for me, that changed everything.
May you allow yourself to listen to your best inner voices and guidance.
By the way, dear Chip Coffey, you will always find a welcome in my humble home.