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Let's Talk Radical Freedom Joy Beyond Juneteenth

Out from under the COVID blues with joy on my mind, pep in my early morning steps under the rising sun, up and down hills and mountainsides. That's how I love to greet each day. Chasing the sun and sitting with the moon from a Southern lens is quite the journey that I never dreamed of, and here I am, again. Looks like it's par for the course of the Freedom Trail, in this pandemic.

Freedom is not one particular location or destination. It's wherever you feel like a human being and an eagle at the same time. I don't know if that can be granted. That has to be cultivated. At least that's how I see it. And, now I want to know how other people experience freedom "in the land of the free and the home of the brave," in this dispensation.

On this Juneteenth weekend, freedom has long been drummed by thousands of advocates' feet who blazed trails in every direction for much of 2020. Now, a national holiday, not reparations, to acknowledge and commemorate the end of slavery. While proponents commemorate and connect the two, Juneteenth and the 13th Amendment to the abolishment of slavery, l recall the exception-to-the-end-of slavery clause: "The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime." I connect the high incarnation rate of Black and Brown men and women in America to the 13th Amendment, but nothing to celebrate about that though. Holiday? Reparations? Again, Emancipation changed the slave status from personal property to state property, and now property of privately owned prisons... maintained by the 13th Amendment. So really, what is freedom?

Freedom has a vast menu. Every 12 minutes in the U.S., a person commits suicide. They didn't feel free. Often, people living with a mental illness don't feel heard, seen, or supported, and they endure great anguish hiding it while seeking to be free. Freedom to some is to feel seen, heard, and valued. Maybe another person's freedom is making people laugh, cooking for someone, bodybuilding, gardening, photography, baking, etc... That's the range of freedom I want to hear about. What sets your soul free?

Skydiving is a special form of freedom to me, just as much as healing through gardening. That's what gives me joy. What gives you joy? What moves your heart? How do you define freedom?

Joy is Freedom. It's an intentional journey. You can never know where your Freedom Trail will lead you to. Come with me and so many others who are finding and sharing freedom out loud. Let's make radical freedom joy together!

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