Happy Fathers Day and Juneteenth Weekend!

Happy Fathers Day to all those dads out there! I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

Today is also World Refugee Day

I did not know this, but there are more refugees now in the world than perhaps ever in history at one time. There were over 82 million refugees in the world in 2020. The UN puts out a fascinating report annually (that you can find here) that includes the following findings from 2020:
-86% of refugees are currently being cared for by developing countries, with Turkey, Colombia, Pakistan and Uganda being the top four countries for caring for refugees worldwide.
-Syria is the country with the most people fleeing, followed by Venezuela and Afghanistan.

I could go on, but take a look at the report, even for just a few minutes. It’s very graphical and colorful and easy to read.

It appears that Bellingham/Whatcom County may be interested in helping to settle refugees here in the next few years. We would love to see that happen and be a part of helping (housing and cost of housing being the biggest issue here). If we hear more, we’ll let you know more if you are interested.

Juneteenth Tee Shirt

And also, Happy belated Juneteenth!

I had the pleasure of celebrating the end of slavery doing two fascinating things on Saturday – visiting Fort Sumter, where the Civil War began, and joining the Juneteenth celebration in Charleston, South Carolina.

Fort Sumter tour began by getting on a boat in Charleston run by the national park system, and listening to a short history of it while motoring out. The young white man doing the talk did a short version of the battles that Fort Sumter was part of; in his southern accent and scraggly long beard he looked like he would be perfect for a role in a Civil War battle reenactment. But as he got to the end, he said this: “the Civil War was about slavery. Oh, I went to high school about 10 years ago, if you see me you can tell I am young. And even then they were still teaching us that the Civil War was about states rights. But is simply not the truth. It was about slavery and that’s a simple fact.”

He backed it up with some quotes from letters and official documents that went between the states in the south, but at the end of his talk he said, somewhat clumsily but sincerely: “we don’t have much history of the slaves’ story because no one asked them for their stories, to write them down. But we should consider those people who built the fort, those who were slaves here during the war, and those who were freed by the war. We should consider that every single one of those four-to-seven million bricks that make up the fort we are about to see were made by slaves. If you look closely, you may see fingerprints in those bricks, fingerprints of women and children who made each of those bricks.”

We said a few last words and asked people to keep an open mind, and to always be learning.

The rain fell and wind blew during the second half of the day, somewhat ruining the planned festival in North Charleston. However there were probably 1000 people who showed up while we were there. There were food trucks and vendors of all sorts, cultural exhibitions and music. The highlight was that because it was raining, a few hundred people pushed under a picnic area (us included), and to pass the time did a few of the African-inspired dances with drums they had planned for the event, that highlighted a few girls my daughter’s age. They were probably 6 or 7 years old, spirited and loving being in the limelight, and danced with great enthusiasm. It was a wonderful way to celebrate the first “official” Juneteenth and one I hope my kids will remember all their lives.

My Day Tee Shirt

If you made it this far, thanks!

I haven’t emailed since March, mostly because of how busy and crazy the last few months have been. It’s an excuse, perhaps. Perhaps I just didn’t feel like I had anything to say, or actually just hard to choose which things to talk about with everything happening so fast.

I’ll be reaching out again this week with some updates on what we are doing, how we are adapting, and what to expect from us for the next few weeks and months.

I am excited that we have more seating than we ever have before, albeit all outside. But it’s been a great spring and summer for weather, which has been a big help. I have also been excited to see how our pizza is taking off and how much enthusiasm there is around it. Hope you’ll try it, if you haven’t yet.

Until then, we encourage you to get vaccinated if you haven’t, we look forward to seeing our Canadian friends again perhaps sometime this summer, and we definitely look forward to seeing your smiling faces hopefully sooner than later.

Best wishes,