My ancestors weren’t free on July 4, 1776. June 19th is our Black Independence Day.
Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth honors the end of slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday. In 1980, Texas officially declared it a holiday. On June 17, 2021, it officially became a federal holiday under the Biden administration. The extreme commercialization of the holiday is frustrating and concerning so I just consider it collateral damage and take the wins with the losses.
Meanwhile in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott signed bills this week that restrict labor rights and bar universities and colleges from having their own diversity offices and training. No surprise here!
Like everything else in my life – I will be celebrating Juneteenth in my own way.
Juneteenth sends me into reflection mode (admittedly, not much doesn’t these days) as I determine what feels right for me today. There are no family cookouts planned for me. I’m considering visiting a Black history museum, attending a Juneteenth community event, reading a book related to Black liberation, walking an Underground Railroad trail, or just taking time to decompress and count my blessings of being born after the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Rest may win (self-care and all) – we’ll see!
Do you have any plans to commemorate Juneteenth?
Nicki Sanders, MSW, supports high-performing women of color in social work leadership in developing careers that feed their hearts, minds, and wallets. As Founder and CEO of Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting, her mission is simple – to eliminate toxic workplaces by developing skilled, empathetic, and goal-oriented leaders who have the vision, support, and resources to create a culture where business prospers, and employees thrive individually and collectively. Nicki has an extensive background in nonprofit management leading high-functioning, multi-disciplinary teams, volunteer recruitment and retention, and social impact programming. She is an accomplished professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has combined her gift for authentic relationships, Master of Social Work degree, and over 20 years of diverse work experience to create a life and career aligned with her values and purpose. Nicki is a lover of cupcakes, travel, and 80’s hip hop and R&B music.
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