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  • Writer's picturePeter Dayton

6.19.20 Juneteenth 2020, Virtual Performance Reminder

Dear Friends,

Today is Juneteenth, a holiday I was never taught about growing up. It celebrates the June, 1865 enforcement of Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Emancipation Proclamation in Texas; two years after Lincoln emancipated the people whom white Americans had enslaved in the Confederate rogue state, the news finally reached Galveston, TX. It is important to remember that the Emancipation Proclamation did not liberate people enslaved in Union States, some of which were faster than others to emancipate their people. Full, national emancipation would not happen until December, 1865 with the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. Slavery, and the white supremacy that profits from it, are still alive and well. With a institutionally racist criminal justice system, a racist and white supremacist system of law enforcement, black people are criminalized and incarcerated for profit. As a nation that was built through conquest, genocide, expropriation, slavery, and exploitation, this pursuit of justice, restitution, and liberation has always been met with both the fierce resistance of extremists and the crippling apathy of moderates. All across the country we see the discomfort, outrage, indignation, and violence at the simple assertion that black lives matter. We are still very so far from an equal and just society, and it will take active work on all of our parts to make it so. As the song written by Barry Mann, Cynthia Weill, and Brenda Russell goes:

"None of us are free

None of us are free

None of us are free, if one of us is chained

None of us are free"

Happy Juneteenth. Fight on.


Virtual Performance Reminder: Saturday June 20, 2020, 2pm - Katie Procell Sings Dayton, Beach, Bernstein, Prucell, and more

Tomorrow at 2pm, longtime collaborators and dear friends Katie Procell (soprano) and Valerie Hsu (piano) will perform an extensive concert of vocal music at Baltimore's An Die Musik, livecasting the event through

Katie's program will feature works by Purcell, Donizetti, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Strauss, Beach, Vaughan Williams, Gilbert & Sullivan, and Bernstein, as well as a performance of my setting of Gertrude Stein If They Delight. Katie's beautiful singing and expression and Valerie's remarkable musicality and pianism will surely brighten your weekend! There is a $5 fee to reserve a spot for the concert - a small price to pay for such magnificent music-making.


COVID-19 cases are spiking around the country. Please continue to practice safe distancing practices, wearing a mask, and sanitizing hands. It would be incomprehensible to think that basic health and survival procedures would be a partisan issue, if the sacrifice of life for profit and political gain were not such a consistent part of American history. Keep being creative and letting people know that you love them. Stay strong, friends.


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