Today is Juneteenth – a day commemorating the end of slavery. On this day in 1865 in Texas, the last enslaved Americans were informed they were now free. It was more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth is an opportunity for continued work in the fight for racial equity and justice. It’s also a time to celebrate Black history, culture and excellence.
On Friday, AbilityFirst held its first Juneteenth Celebration at the Joan and Harry A. Mier Center. The “Juneteenth Experience” included a Pathway to Freedom activity and a museum-inspired display created by the hardworking participants and staff, designed to highlight the history of Juneteenth. Participants and staff from across our programs, and community members, attended the event and shared in vital learnings and a delicious meal. We hope this will be the first of many celebrations to come at AbilityFirst, to commemorate this important holiday.
Here are a few resources for Juneteenth learnings, literature, and webinars:
- Read – The Juneteenth Reading List | Penguin Random House
- Listen – 11 Podcasts About Juneteenth’s History (bustle.com)
- Watch – What is Juneteenth, and why is it important? – Karlos K. Hill and Soraya Field Fiorio – YouTube
AbilityFirst’s vision is for, “a society that values each individual and provides the opportunity for all people to lead full and productive lives.” We hold this vision and the values of diversity, equity and inclusion closely, and want to do our part to dismantle the racism and biases that prevent so many people, including people with disabilities, from doing just that.
We are pleased to share that AbilityFirst’s executive leadership has designated Juneteenth as a paid holiday for our staff this year and going forward as an observed day for reflection and learning. We invite you to join us in reflecting on this important day.
AbilityFirst Executive Leadership Team