Jul 4, 2021

The following is an excerpt written by Bernie Mazyck, Present & CEO of the South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development (SCACED) which was as the fiscal sponsor for 3 years of conNECKtedTOO as a predecessor to TINYisPOWERFUL.

A Clearer and Truer Meaning of Independence

As we approach the July 4th Independence Day holiday, better known as the birthday of the United States, this year’s holiday may be seen with a little more clarity.  The fact of the matter is that July 4, 1776 was the day the colonists declared their independence from Great Britain.  But for over 600,000 enslaved Africans in the United States, July 4, 1776 had no significance as a day of independence.  It took another 89 years for there to be any action taken to declare independence from bondage for enslaved African Americans within the United States.

This year, with the US Congress overwhelmingly passing legislation to make June 19th, Juneteenth National Independence Day, a federal holiday, we have a clear recognition of when our nation became a truly independent nation for all those in the United States.  Now, with the new federal holiday, I would propose that we all use the 2 weeks between June 19th and July 4th as a time to reflect, embrace, and celebrate the true meaning of independence.  To help us develop practices around this new tradition, I would submit to you a biblical tradition called Jubilee, which is found in the Old Testament (Leviticus 25:8_12) of the Bible.  The Biblical concept of Jubilee speaks to justice, freedom, restoration, and reparation.  These are both personal and community concepts, commanding us to break the oppression over the people and reconcile members of the community with one another.  If over a 2-week period, June 19th through July 4th, we can reflect on these concepts, I believe our country will forever make real the vision penned in the preamble to the US Constitution:

              “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Unionestablish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”