Introduction – Our Musea Collective’s Commitment to Courageous Conversations and Centering Women’s Stories and Voices

by Amber Samaya Gould, Curatorial Director

Dearest reader – thank you for supporting the storytelling and intimate reflections that come through our Musea Magazine. Our vision at Musea is to create a rich environment of collaboration, co-mentorship and education from Many Muses, Many Lands, Many Voices, Many Hands and Many Colors.

Our Curator, Shiloh Sophia’s first book was called Color of Woman, as well as her first gallery and her teacher training program. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay area in a diverse multi-cultural community throughout her community, spirituality and educational experience. Intentional Creativity has drawn in many women with diverse backgrounds and stories, and our community is committed to the ongoing conversations of inclusivity, conscious diversity, collaboration across borders, both visible and invisible.

We are an actively anti-racist organization, raising up the voices of women working towards justice. Many of us stand by the words of Black investigative journalist, activist, and educator, Ida B. Wells, who said, “The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”  In centering women’s stories – told from the lens of their own lived experiences and *knowings* – we create space for courageous conversations, which leads to increased awareness, connection, and empathy for one another. We widen the aperture, let more illumination happen, and see what we haven’t been seeing.

The Musea Magazine Team is committed to creating space for these courageous conversations, inviting truth telling, diverse perspectives, activisms, and consciousness raising to come forward from members of our Intentional Creativity community, Guild and team of co-curators.

A central focus of our Musea Collective is to heal together through the catalyzing practice of Intentional Creativity. Our team of co-curators, along with our Curator, Shiloh Sophia, have had an excited curiosity around the question: Just how does Intentional Creativity catalyze collective healing? What we have become aware of is that the practice of Intentional Creativity can create a unique kind of access to self awareness and healing on an individual level that increases a person’s emotional resiliency, softens the heart, and opens the mind to new information, new ideas, and new potentials of being.

When we consider the powerful influences on each of us from the dominant culture, the impacts of colonization, and oppressive global reach of the White Supremacy, we recognize that conditioning impacts each one of us in ways ‘we don’t know we don’t know’. Through the practice of Intentional Creativity, those unknowns can begin to be revealed – we practice the act of ‘stretching’ our consciousness and allow our belief systems to be more supple. This is one powerful aspect of the change and transformation process, and another significant piece is storytelling and education in the sacred container of circle – where witness, compassionate listening, creative practice and somatics create the right conditions for us to learn and grow together. All of this powerfully contributes to collective healing and wholeness.

The following article – centered on Juneteeth Freedom Day Celebration in the United States – is part of this storytelling and educating, which is one of the emergent properties of our Intentional Creativity practice in community. 

We invited some of our Guild Co-Curators and BIWOC members to share with us their reflections of Juneteenth, which has recently been made into a US Federal Holiday (as of June 18, 2021). We asked them to share just what this day truly means to them from their lived experiences as Black and Brown women living in the United States. And just as Curator, Shiloh Sophia, has spoken about and painted about, this is where our sisters can stand up and say “Let me show you what I see…”

Some of what is shared in this collaborative article may feel activating, enraging, or painful. We will invite moments of pause throughout and reminders for deep breaths into the ‘stretch’ or places of grief. We also acknowledge that this is a US-centric story, although it has a broad reach and implications that extend to many other colonizing or colonized nations around the globe. 

I would like to express my gratitude to Sumaiyah, Milagros and Anasuya for their willingness to share vulnerably, bring a stifled and buried history forward, and hold the thread of justice and racial healing in the United States and beyond. We are in this together.

Free-ish… Juneteenth: We Will Never Forget

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence, declaring its independence from Great Britain. The U.S. celebrated its freedom from the rule of Great Britain, yet not everyone was free. Black people were still enslaved. There was no reason for us to celebrate. The U.S. had obtained its freedom, yet they perpetuated the enslavement of others. 

Fast forward to January 1, 1863 – 87 years later – and finally slaves were declared free. Only most of them were unaware of their freedom for two and a half more years. It took that long for the news to reach the slaves in Galveston, Texas, and the news of their freedom arrived on June 19, 1865. This date came to be known as Juneteenth: Emancipation Day for all enslaved black people. It is on this date that black people became free-ish. But, we’re still not free…

We are still beaten, raped, and made into ‘strange fruit’ (a term that refers to lynching, and has many present-day connotations related to police and race-motivated violent killings of Black people). The overseers used by slave owners to keep slaves from fleeing the plantations became the officers of the country. KRS-One says it best in his 1993 song, “Sound of da Police”: “The overseer rode around the plantation. The officer is off patrollin’ all the nation.” Another verse from the same song notes “The overseer could stop you, ‘What you’re doing?’ The officer will pull you over just when he’s pursuing. The overseer had the right to get ill, and if you fought back, the overseer had the right to kill. The officer has the right to arrest, and if you fight back they’ll put a hole in your chest.”  If you say “overseer” a few times fast, what does it sound like? Officer. This word has a particular meaning and connotation for the Black community in light of the continued police violence. Consider the recent murder at the hands of police of George Floyd, and countless other Black people in the United States. Are we truly free?

There are some who use the argument, “well they shouldn’t have run” or “they shouldn’t have resisted.” To those who try to use this line of defense, I ask: If the simple answer to defeating the overseer mentality is not to flee or resist, why then is Dylan Roof alive and well? For those who don’t know the story of Dylan Roof, he is a white man who committed mass murder and who ran from the police for more than 16 hours. When the officers finally apprehended him, he was taken alive and treated to a free Burger King meal on his way to jail. But Mr. Floyd is dead because of a suspected counterfeit twenty dollar bill. He pleaded for his life as the overseer knelt on his neck until his life was extinguished. I ask again, are we truly free? 

Most Americans expect that Black people should celebrate Independence Day on July 4th. But when we are still – 150 years later – experiencing institutionalized violence and injustice in this country, Independence Day just doesn’t cut it for many of us. 

Our day of independence – the day when we were “freed” – is Juneteenth. June 19th, not July 4th. The United States claimed its freedom on July 4th before they had actually ensured that everyone was truly free. Many Black folks choose not to participate in the celebration of a day of independence that we did not have. We know we weren’t legally free until 87 years later. Even though we are still experiencing the harm of anti-black racism in the United States, we are no longer overtly enslaved. We are purportedly given the same rights and freedoms as our white (and other) counterparts. We can own property and obtain our own choice of employment. We are no longer forced to work the fields and be maids and butlers in the “Big House”. We can educate ourselves and our children without fear of reprimand. We can come and go as we please — to an extent. And it wasn’t until June 19, 1865 that some of these freedoms were granted to us. 

Juneteenth IS our Freedom Day. 

We are still fighting for the freedom granted us on Juneteenth. Still fighting an unequal justice system. Still fighting for the right to vote (look at all the newly instituted state voting laws that clearly target Black people’s ability to vote). Still fighting with the openly racist ‘overseers’, politicians, and influencers. 

 One of the things slave owners did to their slaves was to strip them of their history. They were beaten and murdered if they were found to be practicing the spiritual or other traditions of their native lands. They were separated from their heritage — their connection — in order to be controlled. The bellows of the white man for us to “forget slavery” is only an extension of slave owner tactics to keep us under their control. The less we know about our Black roots, the weaker we become. Without a history, we have no connection. Without connection, we fail: United we stand. Divided we fall. Divide us from our history so that we fall as a people.

This is why Juneteenth is so important and so celebrated by many Blacks in the United States and elsewhere. Not only because it commemorates the day Blacks became free, but also because it is our way of ensuring that we never forget. If we are celebrating our emancipation, how then can we forget about the slavery we were emancipated from? If we continue to pass down our traditions, including Juneteenth, to our children and grandchildren and great grands, then slavery will never be forgotten.

The history books have been significantly white washed. Facts have been removed, reinvented or buried.  The children of America – Black and White together – are taught a version of history that is white centered and most often erases or waters down the truth of slavery and colonization. For this reason, Black people choose to educate our children and communities and ‘right’ the historical record. We hold on firmly to our Freedom Day, because we know that as long as we continue to celebrate Juneteenth loud and proud, then slavery will never be forgotten. A huge part of Black history (black history did not start nor end with slavery) will not be able to be erased from the textbooks. Our Ancestors will not be forgotten and we will be reminded just how strong we are as a Black people to have endured 400 years of slavery (about 246 years in the U.S.)


Our celebration of Juneteenth prevents this country from sweeping slavery under the rug. It prevents even more of our history from being taken from us, like it was stripped from us through the Middle Passage and chattle slavery. It’s a reminder to overseers that they have been stripped of that title and reduced to an officer of the law who is to treat ALL people, regardless of race, equally. Juneteenth is a reminder that we not only remember that we were declared free, but that we will fight to ensure we are never enslaved again. It is our declaration that we are free Black people in the United States of America – not African Americans. (Smokey Robinson explains it best in his “Black American” spoken word poetry piece.)

We will continue to celebrate Juneteenth as our Freedom Day – not any other day – and because we will Never Forget.

Having shared with you the history of Juneteenth and my reflections about this day, I want to offer an Intentional Creativity process that I do to remember and honor  the Ancestors, especially on Juneteenth:

With your journal and pen, go into your sacred space and light a candle. I light a candle on my Ancestors altar, which this painting sits above. Pour libations (can be water) to honor the Ancestors. I use water and a crystal challis that I keep on the altar. Pay attention to your breath as you allow the Light of the Divine and the energy of the Ancestors to come to Be with you.

Open your journal and give thanks to the Ancestors for all they did for you when they were walking this Earth and all they are doing for you now that they are in the Ancestors realm. Ask them what wisdom they have for you in this moment. Allow the message to flow onto the page without you dominating the writing. What will come, will come. Give the pen over to the Ancestors so that they can write down their wisdom for you. Ask them is there anything you should know to continue building upon the foundation that they have laid for you. Remember to allow the words to come intuitively – do not write with your ego. Tell ego to go take a seat until you are done communing with the Ancestors.

Once the writing is finished, take your pen and put it on the page. Begin drawing lines without lifting the pen from the page as you think about your connection to your Ancestors and the wisdom which they have just brought forth to you. This is metacognitive drawing. Continue moving the pen until you feel complete.

Write down anything that came up while you were drawing – what (if anything) did you feel in your body? Where did you feel it? How does that part of your body connect with the wisdom you received? Write it down! Dip your finger in the water and anoint your Third Eye as you verbally give thanks to the Ancestors for their wisdom and for being with you in this space and time.

As you extinguish the candle (use a snuffer if possible, don’t blow it out), give thanks to the Divine for Divine Light and presence.

Flower Bearer – Bringing the Sweet Nectar of Her Soul
LEGEND painting by Sumaiyah Wysdom Yates

She has broken free from the box She was put in – both through the Middle Passage
and a society that is uncomfortable with the skin She is in.

She is adorned with kente cloth, crown, and markings of her Ancestors.
A crown of golden oval – the ovum – signifying Her rebirth, fertility and immortality.

She sends her light into the Universe and the Universe returns in kind with a light that magnifies her heART flame.

The SUNflower, bathing Her in adoration, loyalty, longevity…
Nourishing and vibrant, bringing joy to each moment.

She is aligned with the eagle spreading Her wings and taking flight.

She is the Flower Bearer, Bearing the Sweet Nectar of Her soul.

Pause and breathe.
Pause and honor your body’s needs.
Pause and honor your emotions.
Pause and draw or paint.

She Who Cries for Equality and Justice, painting by Intentional Creativity Teacher
and Musea Team member Milagros Suriano-Rivera

She Cries For Equality and Justice. This was my creative response to the call to action ignited by the murder of Mr. George Floyd by police in 2020. Starting as a a prayer for our Black communities and honoring others who lost their lives at the hands of police.

As I committed the names to my consciousness, I saw her crying blood through my own tears. I saw her surrounded by my ancestors holding me, witnessing me, in this awakening to my blackness as a Latina woman of color. Creativity heals. I am so blessed to be able to have a voice even when I can’t find the words to express what I am feeling.

As I reflected on my journey since Mr. Floyd’s murder I acknowledge the ways it catapulted me into this awakening to my identity in this body of color and the circle of Sisters who claimed me in response to what I wanted to heal in myself. I realize that even if our cultural differences and heritage formed a divide in perspective or Herstory, we can come together in Solidarity.

Because still she cries for justice and equality for All people of color whether you identify as such or not.

It is in the spirit of solidarity with our Black sisters and brothers and in honor of my African lineage that I celebrate Juneteenth today and going forward.

Equality and Justice equal true freedom. 

From Africa’s heart, we rose
Already a people, our faces ebon, our bodies lean,
We rose
Skills of art, life, beauty and family
Crushed by forces we knew nothing of, we rose
Survive we must, we did,
We rose
We rose to be you, we rose to be me,
Above everything expected, we rose
To become the knowledge we never knew,
We rose
Dream, we did
Act we must
(Official Juneteenth Poem by Kristina Kay  © 1996,

JUNETEENTH: Give me Liberty or Give me… a Coke and a T-Shirt

JUNETEETH. The latest National Holiday to sweep the USA with T-shirts in Walmarts, parades, picnics and millions of other ways corporate America will use June 19th to commodify a day that is holy to me and to mine. 

What is Juneteenth? It’s the day, June 19, 1865, that Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger announced to the slave-holding community of Galveston, Texas, that President Abraham Lincoln had freed enslaved people in rebel states two and a half years earlier. He also told them that the Civil War was over, the South lost and that they had to comply with the new-to-them 13th Amendment and emancipate their slaves. The White slave owners only obeyed Major General Granger because he was there with the winning Union Army to enforce emancipation.

So, my ancestors suffered two and a half years of additional enforced slavery because White slaveowners knew about the Emancipation Proclamation and refused to enact it because…PROFIT and States Rights said they could. The hopes of the Confederacy were that the Confederate Rebels of the South would win the Civil War and slavery would would last forever. President Lincoln, seeing the Confederate States not enacting the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, was stuck with a torn country and a Civil War. 

Congress submitted many bills about abolishing slavery everywhere in the Union. The newly-proposed rewritten 13th Amendment to the Constitution did indeed free all enslaved beings anywhere in the USA and its territories. It became the law on January 1, 1865. Texans didn’t care. Only Six months after the 13th Amendment became law and two and half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was declared did the Texans comply (at gunpoint).

You may be wondering why Lincoln only freed the enslaved in the Confederate States leaving half a million others still suffering the hell of slavery. So was I, so I researched: just what was Lincoln thinking? Turns out, Lincoln was thinking that the 13th Amendment as proposed by New York Senator William Seward was a great way to placate the Southern Slave-owning States and keep them from succeeding. The original 13th Amendment to the Constitution would have made slavery constitutional and permanent — and Lincoln supported it. He said so in his Inaugural speech as President. It passed both the House and the Senate! Illinois, Maryland and Ohio immediately ratified it. The only thing that stopped it becoming National Law was the Civil War. The very thing the original 13th Amendment was created to prevent.

A reviewer of the film “Lincoln” said on WBUR radio that, gave in-depth historical context:

 “Although its ratification was disrupted by the Civil War, the Corwin Amendment is not actually dead. To this day, it lies dormant, ready to be ratified by the required number of states. Its adoption by the House and Senate is now a constitutional fact that cannot be reversed.

Even though it was last approved by a state in 1861, if another 35 states voted today to approve the Corwin Amendment (or perhaps 36, since some dispute Illinois’ ratification vote), there would be a genuine question of constitutional law whether it overruled the current 13th Amendment.” 

Gary Dauphin of the California African American Museum wrote that “By the end of February 1865, eighteen states had ratified it, nine short of the two-thirds needed under Article V of the Constitution. The question of who could ratify and under what circumstances was not a small one. The new state legislatures in those parts of the Confederacy that had fallen by February of 1865 were either nonexistent or in disarray. [Confederate General] Lee would not surrender until April 9, 1865, Lincoln would be assassinated on April 14th and the final shots of the Civil War were yet to be fired in June. Full ratification did not  occur until December 6, 1865, when the ex-Confederate state of Georgia became the needed 27th state, with final certification coming on December 18, 1865.” Thank you Georgia!

Mr. Dauphin continued to teach me that of the Nine remaining States that COULD have ratified the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery and made the freed African-Americans citizens before the end of the Civil War, before Lincoln’s assassination, but didn’t were California, who ratified the Amendment on December 19th, 1865. Oregon, Florida, Iowa, and New Jersey would also ratify within a few months, whereas Texas would not get to it until 1870. The Delaware legislature did not formally abolish slavery until 1901, Kentucky’s not until 1976. The last state to formally abolish slavery was Mississippi, where the secretary of state did not certify the legislature’s ratification of the 13th Amendment until February 7, 2013.

Yes, 2013.

Let that sink in.  And let us see with our awakened eyes the gaping loophole in the very lovely 13th Amendment that plagues our Society to this day:

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” ~ The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Loophole: “…except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”

A person convicted of a crime was allowed to be put in slavery as punishment. This is how Slave Catchers, people who hunted and caught runaway slaves, became the sheriffs and returned Blacks back to bondage for crimes made up and trumped up. Free Black people were dangerous. They could exact revenge on White people and kill them all for the 400 years of slavery we suffered. This is how possessing Black skin became criminalized. This is how Jim Crows were created. Look a White person in the eye: go to jail. Walk on the sidewalk at the same time as a White person: go to jail. Dare in any way to be a citizen with rights and you went to jail. That is, if they didn’t lynch you, shoot you or bomb you first…with full impunity, of course.

Ava DuVernay made a phenomenal film about the13th Amendment called “13th.” The  legal scholar Michelle Alexander suggests in The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.” 

Alexander outlines in great detail how prisons are modern day plantations then you don’t know how MANY corporations have their goods and services made by inmates, including the makers of military weapons and machinery, for a few pennies. 

The original thirteen colonies that fought against taxation and lack of certain freedoms enforced on them by the British Monarchy fought and won their Independence on July 4th, 1776.  That Freedom from oppression ONLY applied to Whites. The courageous enslaved Africans who managed to escape their plantations to fight on the side of the British were emancipated. The rest of the millions of my enslaved ancestors watched freedom be denied them once again. As the great Abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass, when asked on July 5th, 1852 to speak about Freedom and the Fourth of July so poignantly said, “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.” And he asked them, “Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day?”

Douglass continued by asking, 

“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.”

Celebrating Emancipation, the other name for Juneteenth with a National Holiday seems hollow. What are African-Americans free of? We are heavily policed, incarcerated and murdered. Our healthcare is negligible, at best. Our communities have poor air quality, water and pollution. Our schools are underfunded, under-resourced and are intentionally used to feed the extensively documented “school-to-prison pipeline” 

From the storming of the Nation’s Capital building to all of the murder of innocent African-Americans by Police; to the intricately designed system of oppression and bondage that is systemic racism, it is hard to see the making of Juneenth a National Holiday when I am still not free to sit in Starbucks and wait for a friend without being arrested; when a White person can call the police on me and I end up arrested or killed; when I can’t drive while Black; or sit in my dormitory lounge; when my hair in braids without getting suspended by my White teacher; cannot sleep in my bed without being killed by the Police; can not live in Flint, Michigan AND have water to drink that won’t kill me; when today, my rights to vote are being assailed and denied State by State. 

It took 32,485 days from the signing of the Declaration of Independence for many enslaved African-Americans to be set free on Juneteenth in 1865.

 32,485 days  is exactly 89 years later. 

Today, 245 years after Independence Day in 1776 and 156 years after Texas freed the last enslaved beings (at gunpoint) enslaved in a Confederate state on June 19, 1865, I will continue to celebrate my ancestors on this holy day for me. Our freedoms have been hard fought for and won by much bloodshed. It didn’t come all at once. It still isn’t all here now. I have celebrated Juneteenth because I thought that all of the enslaved were freed, so this was our Emancipation Day. That was until I learned that a half a million people were left in bondage by Lincoln’s Proclamation to appease loyal slave owners who stayed in the Union. 

So today, I will offer my prayers of gratitude to my ancestors on this Juneteenth to honor all who were enslaved in this country and its territories and who fought and died for their freedom like Mum Bett who was an enslaved woman in Massachusetts, whose owners would not let her rest. She said, “Any time while I was a slave, if one minute freedom had been offered to me, and I had been told I must die at the end of that minute, I would have taken it — just to stand one minute on God’s airth [earth] a free woman — I would.” She took the name Elizabeth Freeman after the court ruling.

Elizabeth Freeman was the first enslaved African American to file and win a freedom suit in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling, in Freeman’s favor, found slavery to be inconsistent with the 1780 Massachusetts State Constitution.

The writer Hilton Als wrote, “People are quick to make monuments of anything they live long enough to control.” This recognizes that Holidays and such are created to make corporations money and to detract and distract from the real fighting for freedom that is feeding the Black Lives Matter Movement and many other Liberation movements happening now.

This holiday could easily become and most likely will become, “We gave you a holiday. What do you need reparations for? What are you whining about with your protests anyway? Take your t-shirt (made in a sweatshop for slave wages), go back to being submissive and be grateful.”

So I will celebrate with Lucille Clifton, one of my favorite poets, who asks in her poem, “Won’t you celebrate with me”

won’t you celebrate with me

what i have shaped into

a kind of life? i had no model.

born in babylon

both nonwhite and woman

what did i see to be except myself?

i made it up

here on this bridge between

starshine and clay,

my one hand holding tight

my other hand; come celebrate

with me that everyday

something has tried to kill me

and has failed.

Today, I am a bit fearful that the lessons of Juneteenth will be lost to commercialism like most Black freedom fighters and their message have been again and again and again co-opted, watered down, and neutered.  

I choose to continue to commemorate Juneteenth because it reminds me that our fight for freedom is never won and never done in this country. As hyphenated-beings, we have learned that at any minute our freedom can be stripped from us just like our lives. 

Though I always thought Juneteenth celebrated the freedom of all enslaved Black beings, I now know that it was the last version of the 13th Amendment that liberated us in 1865 on paper. As I outlined earlier, States rights give States the power to ratify laws  in their own Congress….or not.  So my celebration today of Juneteenth will be two-fold:

First, as acknowledgement that the last people in a Confederate Rebel State to hear the Emancipation Proclamation were in Texas, when they were set free.

Second, as an acknowledgement that I, descendent of enslaved Africans and African-Americans, am a citizen of this country that my people built and that endows me with certain inalienable rights but not all the rights of a citizen. Before this amendment, my ancestors were only seen as 3/5th human ~ property like chattel~ in the Constitution. For a hyphenated-being that this African-American is, this is as good as it gets.

For now.

“La luta continua!” The struggle for freedom continues!


Pause and breathe.
Pause and honor your body’s needs.
Pause and honor your emotions.
Pause and draw or paint.
Completing Words

by Amber Samaya Gould

Thank you for reading through this article and turning towards a piece of Black (African American) history that is important to remember or learn, if you have not yet had this part of history brought to your awareness.

Celebrating Juneteenth means walking in paradox – something many of us in the Intentional Creativity community see as a significant skill of resilience. We want to honor with joy and celebration the freedom that arrived on June 19, 1865  (Juneteenth) for our Black and Brown sisters and brothers, and the incredible resilience, creativity, beauty, strength, ingenuity, culture, scholarship and genius that is Blackness in America. We also want to hold awareness of the injustice, unequal access, oppression and harm that still exists for Black people in the Americas (including my country, Canada) and many colonized places throughout the world. Black history is ALL of our history. When we listen with open hearts to what our sisters are saying, we can feel just how important it is to hold the threads of the continued fight for true equity and justice in the United States and all places in the world where people are oppressed for the color of their skin.

May we stand together with hearts lifted in solidarity with our Black and Brown friends, sisters, and fellow human beings – honoring and caring for one another and our shared history – the painful, the atrocious, the abominable, and the beautiful, the good, and the whole.

If you are currently working on an Intentional Creativity painting or have a creative journal, you are invited to creative practice to process and integrate what may have come through the reading of this article.

For an Intentional Creativity integration practice, consider… 

  • Making some honoring marks on your canvas this Juneteenth (and Summer Solstice eve) – perhaps begin with an inquiry of what freedom truly means to you and how you wish others to experience freedom
  • Creating a page in your journal to integrate the learnings from this article, with word bubbles, text, paint, etc. Whatever flows as you lean in to your thoughts, feelings and ‘sensings’ here.
  • Lighting a candle or adding a sacred object to your alter to hold space for the paradox of celebrating a freedom that is incomplete and calling in the equity and justice that makes freedom more complete.

It is a good thing that Juneteenth has been named a Federal Holiday in the United States – this may create space around it for people to really lean in and be present to what is truly represents. We encourage you to do just that – honoring it in the best way you can with Intentional Creativity to support you.

On a personal note, as a white woman and a Canadian, I am still finding that there is so much about Black history to truly learn – learn to the extent that I know it deeply, can recall dates, names, and major events – until it is MY history not just ‘their’ history. That is a part of my journey of un-learning and re-learning what it means to be a full-spectrum human being, available, interconnected, and embracing of our true collective reality. Part of my own healing and transforming in this area has come through painting, circling up and listening to my sisters of color share their truth and stories, and opening myself to creative textures and energetics that are meant to support collective waking up.

I want to leave you with a song I wrote in 2020 – a sharing in that same energetic vein of ‘let me tell you what I see’. This is a song that offers a reminder to LISTEN. Listen to the bones – those things which are buried deep, but still speaking to us with ferocity and the deep grace of reminder. We can hear these bones when we allow ourselves to take on ancestor mind, when we acknowledge the past with us, not behind us. This song is also about holding onto the thread – one of many – that is weaving a new story, one that INCLUDES all parts of us – shadow and light – so we can gradually, stumblingly, patiently, and lovingly find a way to rebuild our world, and retell the story of the people. I share this in the spirit of love and peace.