Sister Simone Campbell, SSS—known as “the nun on the bus”—is someone I consider a modern prophet. She is the Executive Director of NETWORK, an organization that lobbies for socially just federal policies. On this “Independence Day” (in the United States), reflect on Sr. Simone’s invitation to co-create our collective freedom.
In the last half of the twentieth century, thankfully, our society began to engage in a serious process of trying to atone for the sin of slavery, and in doing so much emphasis was placed on promoting civil rights. An unintended consequence of this important movement was a heightened focus on individuals and individual exercise of the freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution. The civil rights movement came out of community, but the legal expression focused on individuals’ capacity to exercise their freedoms. Some fearful Americans—largely white men who professed a conservative version of Christianity—felt threatened, as if there were not enough rights to go around. They sought to create their own “movement.” This reaction in part fueled the rise of the tea party movement. . . .
But a democracy cannot survive if various groups and individuals only pull away in different directions. Such separation will not guarantee that all are allowed the opportunity for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” All people must be recognized for their inherent dignity and gifts regardless of the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, or their place of origin. And all these gifts need to be shared in order to build up the whole.
So I have begun to wonder if the new task of the first half of the twenty-first century should be a commitment to civil obligations as a balance to the focus on civil rights.
Civil obligations call each of us to participate out of a concern and commitment for the whole. Civil obligations call us to vote, to inform ourselves about the issues of the day, to engage in serious conversation about our nation’s future and learn to listen to various perspectives. To live our civil obligations means that everyone needs to be involved and that there needs to be room for everyone to exercise this involvement. This is the other side of civil rights. We all need our civil rights so that we can all exercise our civil obligations.
The mandate to exercise our civil obligations means that we can’t be bystanders who scoff at the process of politics while taking no responsibility. We all need to be involved. Civil obligations mean that we must hold our elected officials accountable for their actions, and we must advocate for those who are struggling to exercise their obligations. The 100 percent needs the efforts of all of us to create a true community.
It is an unpatriotic lie that we as a nation are based in individualism. The Constitution underscores the fact that we are rooted and raised in a communal society and that we each have a responsibility to build up the whole. The Preamble to the Constitution could not be any clearer: “We the People” are called to “form a more perfect Union.”
-Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation
Simone Campbell with David Gibson, A Nun on the Bus: How All of Us Can Create Hope, Change, and Community (HarperOne: 2014), 180-182.
Image credit: Frieze of the Prophets (detail), John Singer Sargent, circa 1892, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts.
‘Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, if you know someone who ought to run for something, or if you ought to run for something, the thing you ought to run for is the state legislature in your state. And you better do it right now.’ [Maddow Blog]
There is only one true flight from the world: it is not an escape from conflict, anguish, and suffering, bu the flight from disunity and separation, to unity and peace in the love other (wo)men.”
Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation
What does is mean to be good? This is not something people talk about, or agree on much of these days.
“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics …”
“When I was a child, we saw pictures of military parades in the Soviet Union. I was taught that America doesn’t do that— that we’re proud of the fact that we don’t do it because we don’t wish to be a militarized society. This July 4th however, America’s official celebration will be accompanied by army tanks on the National Mall.
The militarization of July 4th celebrations is repugnant to me. What we celebrate on July 4th is our greatest strength: the Declaration of Independence and the principles that it articulates. That is what we have always done, and that is what we must continue to do.
President Trump will be doing his July 4th event in Washington DC with army tanks on the National Mall; I will be doing mine in Concord, New Hampshire, with a message that I assume will be quite different than his.
Please join me tomorrow at 2pm PT/5pm ET via livestream or live in Concord for a July 4 talk that celebrates our principles, dedicating our hearts to the rights—and the responsibilities—it bequeaths to us. Another generation was given the task of giving birth to the country; the task of our generation is to give it new life.
I look forward to being with you!”
One of two Bradley Fighting Vehicles is parked next to the Lincoln Memorial. Photo: Andrew Harnik.
From Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation:
‘While our society places great emphasis on the individual, true prophets are almost always concerned with social, institutional, national, or corporate evil and our participation in it.
That’s because the future is always contingent upon our cooperation, choices, and actions. Therefore, if we live in love and treat the poor with justice, the good will happen.’
From Marianne Williamson:
‘Where racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism, homophobia, Islamaphobia and xenophobia have become collectively politicized, we must collectively politicize decency, dignity, mercy, justice, compassion and love. This isn’t philosophy; it’s strategy.’
‘She only spoke for five minutes during the debate, but she managed to advocate for reparations; implicitly compare herself to John F. Kennedy; rail on her opponents for focusing too much on policy plans; bring “chemical policies” into the health-care debate; advocate for a spiritual, love-based strategy to beat President Trump; promise to call the prime minister of New Zealand on her first day in office; and beat the other candidates in debate-night Google search interest (although Kamala D. Harris was the top “trending topic” on all of Google). We may never have seen anyone exactly like Williamson on a national debate stage, but she’s channeling a real, and underserved, constituency in American politics.’ [Washington Post]
‘Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson called climate change the country’s greatest moral challenge in an interview Thursday, spotlighting an issue at the center of the 2020 primary race.
The author and activist told PBS NewsHour anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff that investing resources to combat climate change now would pay off in the future.
“I’d rather pay with money now than pay with our inability to breath 25 years from now, 50 years from now,” said Williamson, who supports the Green New Deal.
Williamson also said the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortion services, needs to be repealed.
The remarks come as several states have pushed controversial bills limiting abortion services. The debate over abortion is playing out in the 2020 primary race as well. Former Vice President Joe Biden made headlines Thursday by reversing his support for the amendment.
Other highlights from the interview:
On military spending: Williamson criticized U.S. military spending as excessive, touching on an argument she makes in her new book, “A Politics of Love.” “Anybody who thinks that our military budget is based only on military considerations is fooling themselves. It is based at least as much on short-term profit maximization for defense contractors,” she said.
On creating a Department of Peace: Williamson reiterated her call for a new agency with the name the “Department of Peace,” which would deal with domestic peace-building efforts, including in neighborhoods grappling with violence. “We do not spend money and put our resources behind the factors that create peace, like expanding education for children and ameliorating unnecessary human suffering,” Williamson said.
’What I saw outside the fence is as important as what I saw when I looked over it: politicians, human rights groups, religious groups, social justice advocates and others, all bearing witness to a tragic situation and refusing to look away. Gandhi’s concept of soul force means bearing witness to the agony of others as a form of political expression. People from across all religious and spiritual and social justice communities are ready to take a stand for love, and turn it into a political force.’
As I prepare for tonight’s debate, I am thinking about why I got into this race. I’m committed to articulating as strongly as I can my beliefs on which this campaign stands.
I believe we won’t be the country that we can be, until we’re the people that we can be. Too many people are held back from being all they can be, due to bad public policy that does more to limit their dreams than to unleash their spirits.
I believe government can and should be a force for good. It should create and secure opportunities for people to embrace the light, thus making it less probable they will fall into darkness.
America has now fallen into a dark night of the American soul. We’re living at a time when some of the worst human impulses have been turned into a political force. And that will be transcended only by the best human impulses turned into a political force.
That is why I take a stand for love.
I take a stand for economic and social justice. I take a stand for America’s children. I take a stand for safety. I take a stand for our planet. I take a stand for racial reconciliation. And I take a stand for peace.
I will continue to do that, tonight in Miami, tomorrow in Homestead, and the day after that in Iowa. I will continue to campaign on the possibility that America can emerge from this time and be better than we have ever been.
“The power in this image speaks to the current reality in the U.S. and around the world of the plight of immigrants,” said the Rev. Kenny Irby, an independent visual consultant with more than 40 years of experience in journalism and education. “It’s an authentic truth that needs to be part of the narrative.” -NPR/Emily Bogle
‘Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, frustrated because the family from El Salvador was unable to present themselves to U.S. authorities and request asylum, swam across the river on Sunday with his daughter, Valeria.
He set her on the U.S. bank of the river in Brownsville, Texas, and started back for his wife in Matamoros, Mexico. But seeing him move away, the girl threw herself into the waters. Martínez returned and was able to grab Valeria, but the current swept them both away.’
Tragically, necessarily, indelible.
In memoriam. Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and Valeria.
‘Your sweet memory comes on the evening wind
I sleep and dream of holding you in my arms again
The lights of Brownsville, across the river shine
A shout rings out and into the silty red river I dive
Meet me on the Matamoros
Meet me on the Matamoros
Meet me on the Matamoros banks’
by Kelly McBride/Ethics & Trust
The shocking image joins a small portfolio of iconic photographs that magnify the suffering of children caught in geopolitical chaos, including Kevin Carter’s 1993 picture of a starving Sudanese child collapsed outside a feeding center during a widespread famine, Nick Ut’s 1972 picture of a naked girl burned by napalm in Vietnam, and Nilufer Demir’s 2015 picture of 4-year-old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi washed ashore in Turkey.
These photographs have the power to galvanize the public, much the way that David Jackson’s picture of Emmett Till’s open casket did in 1955.
No matter what your political views on immigration are, the fact that so many children are suffering because of decisions made by the U.S. government is something every American should take note of.
The Story Behind That Photo Of A Father And Daughter On The Banks Of The Rio Grande
‘NPR’s Ari Shapiro speaks with Associated Press reporter Christopher Sherman about the Salvadoran family who lost their lives trying to cross the Rio Grande.’
‘The Golden Rule is so basic, so logical, so easy to agree with, yet so utterly difficult to practice! One way to start is to simply put ourselves in the other’s shoes, to practice empathy and sympathy. Practice is really the operative word, for empathy does require practice. It takes many intentional efforts before we can make it a habit.’
Day by Day with St. Francis, by Peter A. Giersch 
If we just keep hold of each other, you grasping the young one and I the old, we could revolve together like ´*.¸.• .¸. ¸.☆¨ .¸.¸¸.☆’s.
“We have two choices. We can be pessimistic, give up and help ensure that the worst will happen. Or we can be optimistic, grasp the opportunities that surely exist and maybe help make the world a better place.”
This solstice supports family, home, nurturing, and taking care of your container, your body and your self care. The energy is feminine, creative, fertile and supportive to collaboration, honoring of Mother Earth and Mother figures, and feeding the seeds that you are planting for new projects and ideas. We are focused on honoring the sun as well, taking in the energy of that life force and filling ourselves up with it.
Beware of the emotional edge that can either challenge or support you during this time. Think before you speak and act and always consider others. When in doubt, come from a place of kindness and compassion.
´*.¸.• .¸. ❥❥¸¸.☆¨¯ .¸.¸¸.☆¨¯`❥❥
The Solstice is Friday, June 21st, at 9:54 AM Mountain Daylight Time [MDT].
David Wallace-Wells, Author of the book, The Uninhabitable Earth/Life After Warming [‘The most terrifying book I have ever read.’ -Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times]
“It’s become fashionable to call for a WWII-style climate mobilization. But virtually no one will call for activities the U.S. actually undertook then—rationing food and fuels, seizing property, nationalizing factories or industries, suspending liberties.”
Himalayan glacier melting doubled since 2000, spy satellites show
Ice losses indicate ‘devastating’ future for region and 1 billion people who depend on it for water
The analysis shows that 8bn tonnes of ice are being lost every year and not replaced by snow, with the lower level glaciers shrinking in height by 5 meters annually. The study shows that only global heating caused by human activities can explain the heavy melting. In previous work, local weather and the impact of air pollution had complicated the picture.
Joshua Maurer, from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth observatory, who led the new research, said: “This is the clearest picture yet of how fast Himalayan glaciers are melting since 1975, and why.” The research is published in the journal Science Advances.
The spy satellite photographs used in the research had lain unused in archives for some years. But a computer tool developed by Maurer and colleagues enabled these 1970s photos to be turned into 3D maps.
Schaefer said: “For the wellbeing of the people there, our results are of course the worst possible. But it is what it is, and now we have to prepare for that scenario. We have to worry a lot, because so many people are affected.
“To stop the temperature rises, we have to cool the planet,” he said. “We have to not only slow down greenhouse gas emissions, we have to reverse them. That is the challenge for the next 20 years.”
“Is it too late for us? Scientists have spent decades sounding the alarm on the devastating effects of climate change. And for decades, society decided to do pretty much nothing about it. In fact, over the past 30 years, we’ve done more damage to the climate than in all of human history! Now, there’s a real chance we may have waited too long to avoid widespread tragedy and suffering. In his book “The Uninhabitable Earth”, David Wallace-Wells depicts a catastrophic future far worse than we ever imagined…and far sooner than we thought. It is undoubtedly a brutal truth to face, as you will hear in this episode, but if there’s any hope to avert the worst case scenarios, we have to start now.”
By Mirabai Starr, drawn from her article in the Center’s [Center for Action & Contemplation] spring newsletter and her new book Wild Mercy:
‘As you have undoubtedly noticed, the feminine is rising at last, overflowing the banks of every landscape, from politics to religion, from the world of entertainment to the fields of peace and justice. She is unconditionally loving, and she is deliciously irreverent. She is shifting the global paradigm from one of dominance and individualized salvation to one of collective awakening and service to all beings.
Her wisdom has been hidden in the heart of each of the great spiritual traditions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and all Indigenous wisdom ways. Access to these jewels has required excavation, but the treasures that have emerged are transfiguring the soul of the world, offering medicine for the broken heart of humanity and the materials needed to mend the torn fabric of the earth.
Ever since I was a young girl, I have been irresistibly drawn to every religion I encountered. Born into a non-religious Jewish family, I had embraced multiple spiritual traditions by the time I was twenty and integrated them into my daily life: a deep devotion to an Indian saint, a daily Buddhist meditation practice, initiation into multiple Sufi lineages, a reclamation of the ancient beauty of my ancestral home in Judaism, and an unexpected friendship with Christ through the mystics, whose words I have since translated. Each of these paths has comingled in my being, creating a rich and robust spiritual soil.
It is the Christian women mystics who have become my most cherished spiritual sisters and role models. The sixteenth-century Spanish mystic, Teresa of Ávila [1515–1582] has shown me what it looks like to cultivate ecstatic intimacy with God in the center of my own being and also find my Beloved “living among the pots and pans.” The medieval Rhineland visionary Hildegard of Bingen [1098–1179] praises God’s greening energy in every particle of creation, helping me to glimpse the face of the One in all that is. The English anchoress Julian of Norwich [1342–1316] had a near death experience in which Christ revealed himself as an unconditionally loving Mother who continuously breaks herself open and pours herself out to her children, endlessly forgiving and enthusiastically adoring us.
Through each of these wise women, I have come to recognize the holiness of incarnation. There is nothing in this gorgeous, messy world, not a thing in my own imperfect perfection, no place in the scope of the human predicament or the majesty of the natural world that is not, by its very nature, blessed: the chosen dwelling place of the One we love. 
Our experiences of embodiment may not always correspond with idealized images of holiness, but these preconceptions derive from masculine standards of perfection. Such paradigms have caused great harm, and they are no longer valid. I invite you to abandon your efforts to fix yourself and instead reclaim your innate beauty and worth as a luminous cell in the body of Mother Earth.’ 
 Mirabai Starr, “Indwelling and Outflowing,” the Mendican, vol. 9, no. 2 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2019), 3.
 Mirabai Starr, Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics (Sounds True: 2019), 154.
‘A handful of 2020 Democrats support eliminating the Senate filibuster, a rule that lets a minority of lawmakers block any bill from coming up for a vote on the floor. Vox reporter Alvin Chang explains what the filibuster does, where it came from, and why there’s a growing movement to scrap it.’ [5:57]
The only bad moments in our training involved the press… Whereas NASA appeared to be very enlightened about flying women astronauts, the press didn’t appear to be. The things that they were concerned with were not the same things that I was concerned with… Everybody wanted to know what kind of makeup I was taking up — they didn’t care about how well-prepared I was to operate the arm or deploy communication satellites… The worst question that I’ve gotten was whether I cried when we got malfunctions in the simulator. -Sally Ride
“In 1978, while studying for her Ph.D. in physics, Sally Ride (May 26, 1951–July 23, 2012) answered a newspaper ad from NASA. On June 18, 1983, she soared into the cosmos aboard the Space Shuttle Challengerand became the first American woman in space, the country’s youngest astronaut in orbit, and the world’s first lesbian astronaut to launch into the cosmos. “We’ve come a long way,” she declared.
But lurking in the shadow of every major leap toward equality is also a reminder of how far we have yet to go. Shortly after returning to Earth from orbit, Ride sat down with trailblazing feminist Gloria Steinem — a woman who has dedicated her life to the art of public listening — for a conversation about gender in science, how the options our culture makes available to us limit the dreams we’re capable of dreaming, how lazy journalism perpetuates stereotypes, and the future of space exploration.”
“Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond.
Today Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future. Its growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America long over due. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society.” [juneteenth.com]
Eviction isn’t without its own historical context. In vulnerable communities of people of color, in particular, displacement and denial of housing are phenomena centuries in the making. This episode maps the persistent line between racist housing policies, localized profiteering, and the devastating plunder of generations of wealth.
On the Media
From June 14th:
‘We continue our four-part series on eviction by charting the persistent line between racist housing policies, localized profiteering and the devastating plunder of generations of wealth. Guests include Matt Desmond [@just_shelter], founder of the Eviction Lab; Natalie Moore, reporter for WBEZ; and Marty Wegbreit, director of litigation for the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society.’
‘Millions of rent-burdened Americans face eviction filings and proceedings every year. On this week’s On the Media, what we think we know, and what we definitely don’t know, about America’s eviction crisis.
We hear the story of Jeffrey, a security guard in Richmond, Virginia whose severe rent burden caused his family to be evicted.
Matthew Desmond, founder of the Eviction Lab, explains what he and his fellow researchers have learned from their massive collection of eviction data.’
Evictions are filed over 3.7 million times a year in America — or at a rate of one every seven seconds. The eviction epidemic has bedeviled more lives than the opioid crisis and still its causes — and consequences — remain largely ignored or misunderstood.
With the help of Matt Desmond and the Eviction Lab, which has compiled the largest-ever database of eviction records, our series charts a course through a thicket of contradictions and assumptions to reveal the heart of the crisis.
You can take your own first step on this course by witnessing the data from your own state, in comparison with two states that we visited in our reporting.
“Evicted stands among the very best of the social justice books.” —Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto and Commonwealth
‘In Evicted, Princeton sociologist and MacArthur “Genius” Matthew Desmond follows eight families in Milwaukee as they each struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Hailed as “wrenching and revelatory” (The Nation), “vivid and unsettling” (New York Review of Books), Evicted transforms our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving one of twenty-first-century America’s most devastating problems. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.’ [Amazon]
For expanded investigative reporting on redlining, visit:
‘We engage and empower the public through investigative journalism and groundbreaking storytelling that sparks action, improves lives and protects our democracy.
CREDIT: GOODBY SILVERSTEIN & PARTNERS
Founded in 1977 as the nation’s first nonprofit investigative journalism organization, The Center for Investigative Reporting has developed a reputation for being among the most innovative, credible and relevant media organizations in the country.
Reveal – our website, public radio program, podcast and social media platform – is where we publish our multiplatform work.’
The New Yorker
Ta-Nehisi Coates Revisits the Case for Reparations
It’s not often that an article comes along that changes the world, but that’s exactly what happened with Ta-Nehisi Coates, five years ago, when he wrote “The Case for Reparations,” in The Atlantic. Reparations have been discussed since the end of the Civil War—in fact, there is a bill about reparations that’s been sitting in Congress for thirty years—but now reparations for slavery and legalized discrimination are a subject of major discussion among the Democratic Presidential candidates. In a conversation recorded for The New Yorker Radio Hour, David Remnick spoke with Coates, who this month published “Conduction,” a story in The New Yorker’s Fiction Issue. Subjects of the conversation included what forms reparations might take, which Democratic candidates seem most serious about the topic, and how the issue looks in 2019, a political moment very different from when “The Case for Reparations” was written.
God is in the roses The petals and the thorns Storms out on the oceans The souls who will be born And every drop of rain that falls Falls for those who mourn God is in the roses And the thorns. -Rosanne Cash
“Vulnerability transforms you. You can’t be in the presence of a truly vulnerable, honestly vulnerable person and not be affected. I think that’s the way we are meant to be in the presence of one another.” [Richard Rohr]
The cross was not a transactional moment, but deeper, ensconced in humility and vulnerability. [Reference to Richard Rohr]
“As he draws near Jerusalem, Jesus weeps out of a sadness and frustration at people’s blindness to what is right in front of them…oblivious.” [Forward Day by Day]
“The Talmud says that unhappy conditions arise when we mistake shadower substance. We are ever renewed by the presence of that which cannot change. We are ever renewed by the passage of the Divine light through our consciousness. Silently, I pass from less to more, from isolation to inclusion, from separation into oneness.” [Ernest Holmes]
“And this above all: that through these petals light must pass. From a thousand skies, each drop of darkness is filtered out and the glow at the core of each flower grows stronger and rises into life.
And the movement of the roses has a branch none could discern, were it for for what it ignites in the universe entire…
One could say they were self-contained if self-contained meant to transform the world outside, patience of springtime, guilt and restlessness, the secrecy of fate and the darkness of Earth at evening…on out to the streaming and fleeing of clouds and, farther yet, the orders of the stars…take it all and turn it into a handful of inwardness.”
WASHINGTON — Extensive work was well underway on a new $20 bill bearing the image of Harriet Tubman when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced last month that the design of the note would be delayed for technical reasons by six years and might not include the former slave and abolitionist.
Many Americans were deeply disappointed with the delay of the bill, which was to be the first to bear the face of an African-American. The change would push completion of the imagery past DT’s time in office, even if he wins a second term, stirring speculation that Mr. Trump had intervened to keep his favorite president, Andrew Jackson, a fellow populist, on the front of the note.
But Mr. Mnuchin, testifying before Congress, said new security features under development made the 2020 design deadline set by the Obama administration impossible to meet, so he punted Tubman’s fate to a future Treasury secretary.
In fact, work on the new $20 note began before DT took office, and the basic design already on paper most likely could have satisfied the goal of unveiling a note bearing Tubman’s likeness on next year’s centennial of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote.
An image of a new $20 bill, produced by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and obtained by The New York Times from a former Treasury Department official, depicts Tubman in a dark coat with a wide collar and a white scarf.
That preliminary design was completed in late 2016.
A spokeswoman for the bureau, Lydia Washington, confirmed that preliminary designs of the new note were created as part of research that was done after Jacob J. Lew, President Barack Obama’s final Treasury secretary, proposed the idea of a Tubman bill.
The development of the note did not stop there.
A current employee of the bureau, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, personally viewed a metal engraving plate and a digital image of a Tubman $20 bill while it was being reviewed by engravers and Secret Service officials as recently as May 2018. This person said that the design appeared to be far along in the process.
Within the bureau, this person said, there was a sense of excitement and pride about the new $20 note.
But the Treasury Department, which oversees the engraving bureau, decided that a new $20 bill would not be made public next year. Current and former department officials say Mr. Mnuchin chose the delay to avoid the possibility that Mr. Trump would cancel the plan outright and create even more controversy.
In an interview last week, Mr. Mnuchin denied that the reasons for the delay were anything but technical.
“Let me assure you, this speculation that we’ve slowed down the process is just not the case,” Mr. Mnuchin said, speaking on the sidelines of the G-20 finance ministers meeting in Japan.
The Treasury secretary reiterated that security features drive the change of the currency and rejected the notion that political interference was at play. He declined to say if he believed his predecessor had tried to politicize the currency.
Interagency, including the Secret Service and others and B.E.P., that are all career officials that are focused on this,” he said, referring to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. “They’re working as fast as they can.”
Monica Crowley, a spokeswoman for Mr. Mnuchin, added that the release into circulation of the new $20 note remained on schedule with the bureau’s original timeline of 2030. She did not, however, say that the bill would feature Tubman.
“The scheduled release (printing) of the $20 bill is on a timetable consistent with the previous administration,” she said in a statement.
But building the security features of a new note before designing its images struck some as curious. Larry E. Rolufs, a former director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, said that because the security features of a new note are embedded in the imagery, they normally would be created simultaneously.
“It can be done at the same time,” said Mr. Rolufs, who led the bureau from 1995 to 1997. “You want to work them together.”
The process of developing American currency is painstaking, done by engravers who spend a decade training as apprentices. People familiar with the process say that engravers spend months working literally upside down and backward carving the portraits of historical figures into the steel plates that eventually help create cash. Often, multiple engravers will attempt different versions of the portraits, usually based on paintings or photographs, and ultimately, the Treasury secretary chooses which one will appear on a note.
Mr. Rolufs said that because of the complexity of creating new currency, circulating a new note design by next year was ambitious. He also acknowledged that making major changes to the money is an invitation for backlash.
“For the secretary to change the design of the notes takes political courage,” he said. “The American people don’t like their currency messed with.”
As a presidential candidate, Mr. Trump called the decision to replace Jackson, who was a slave owner, with Tubman “pure political correctness.” An overhaul of the Treasury Department’s website after Mr. Trump took office removed any trace of the Obama administration’s plans to change the currency, signaling that the plan might be halted.
Within Mr. Trump’s Treasury Department, some officials complained that Mr. Lew had politicized the currency with the plan and that the process of selecting Tubman, which included an online poll among other forms of feedback, was not rigorous or reflective of the country’s desires.
The uncertainty has renewed interest in the matter. This week, Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, where Tubman was born, wrote a letter to Mr. Mnuchin urging him to find a way to speed up the process.
“I hope that you’ll reconsider your decision and instead join our efforts to promptly memorialize Tubman’s life and many achievements,” wrote Mr. Hogan, a Republican.
And last week, a group of House Democrats demanded that the Treasury secretary provide specific information about the security concerns that were impeding the currency redesign.
At the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which offers tours and an exhibit on the history of the currency, some visitors said they preferred tradition, while others were seeking change.
“For me, it’s not important enough to spend the money to change it,” said Jeff Dunyon, who was visiting Washington from Utah this week. “There are other ways to honor her.”
Charnay Gima, a tourist from Hawaii, had just finished a tour when she pulled aside a guide to ask a question that was bothering her. She wanted to know what became of the plan to make Tubman the face of the $20 bill.
To Ms. Gima’s dismay, there was no sign of Tubman in any of the bureau’s exhibits. The plan was scrapped, she was told, for political reasons.
“It’s kind of sad,” said Ms. Gima, who is black. “I was really looking forward to it because it was finally someone of color on the bill who paved the way for other people.”