C004 Inclusion of June 19th, "Juneteenth" in the Church's Liturgical Calendar in Recognition of the End of Slavery in the United States

(1) June 19th, also known as "Juneteenth" and "Freedom Day," is the only celebration of the end of slavery in the United States. Though President Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, the enslaved people of Texas did not learn of their freedom until June 19, 1865.

(2) June 19th is both a day of celebration and a day of repentance: celebration of the end of slavery; repentance for its existence in the United States and for the systemic racism that continues to this day.

(3) The Episcopal Church is one of the institutions that has benefitted from the institution of slavery; it is incumbent on white Episcopalians, in particular, to acknowledge and atone for this sin.

(4) Just as Genocide Remembrance Day (April 24) is included in the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (Holy Women, Holy Men) calling us to stand against hatred and oppression, Juneteenth is a reminder that people of faith must have unflinching resolve in prayer and action to stand on the side of freedom and justice for all people.