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Tradition & Innovation

Clap Your Hands, All You Nations: A Psalm for Juneteenth

By Rebecca S’manga Frank
black protest

On Thursday June 17th, 2021, President Biden signed a bill that acknowledges Juneteenth as a federal holiday. This is a monumental moment for recognition of African American history, culture, and progress in the national public sphere. In honor of Juneteenth Be’chol Lashon commissioned this prayer from writer, actor, director, educator and filmmaker Rebecca S’manga Frank. Feel free to use this Psalm to commemorate Juneteenth.


Clap Your Hands, All You Nations: A Psalm for Juneteenth

Clap your hands, all you nations
Shout to God with cries of joy
Black is Queen!
Black is King!
Black is Free!
Black is Free.

Why is this day different from all other days?
On this day the message of freedom was no longer delayed

Galveston, Texas 1865, and Today

May I carry the message of freedom
May I receive the message of freedom

May I stretch my arms wide, breathing deeply
May a gust of wind blow boundless through my mind
May I remember forgotten dreams
May tears escape from my eyes and evaporate on my cheek
May joyful shouts escape from my mouth as freely as birds fly into pink sky over salty water
May I lull myself and others into a peaceful sway by singing:
Oh Beautiful, Willow Weep For Me, The Sweetest Sound, Go Tell It On The Mountain of This
Little Light of Mine…

May our teeth shine as we smile at one another
May we cook, may we potluck together, giving thanks to the God in each of us

On this day we eat soul food, infused with the spirit of freedom
On this day we relax in the spirit of freedom
On this day we dance in the spirit of freedom
On this day we laugh in the spirit of freedom
On this day we tell the story in the spirit of freedom, we spread the news!

And as we clasp hands, all you nations
Our palms transmit an inner whisper
No words of false equivalency are shared
Only the inner language of God
Heard in silence:

Freedom.


@Be’chol Lashon 2021. Republished with permission from Be'chol Lashon.

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