Juneteenth – A Time to Reflect
Juneteenth, Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, Emancipation Day – These are all names for the day we recognize that a group of enslaved people in Galveston, Texas finally learned that they were free from the institution of slavery - June 19, 1865. What makes this day so significant is that this was two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation by President Lincoln, a constant reminder that significant change can unfortunately take time.
Yesterday, President Biden signed the bill to recognize Juneteenth as a federal holiday with federal employees observing the holiday for the first time today. The celebration of Juneteenth serves as the backdrop of the societal outrage of the racial injustices that have occurred in 2020. Whether George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, or others, Juneteenth provides an opportunity for all of us at ACA to realize that the pursuit of racial equality in this country is still not complete and that much more work needs to be done. Not only does this work involve legislative and actionable changes, but also involves a continued dialog in our society about the historical and future civil rights issues our generation will need to address.
What does Juneteenth mean to us at ACA? ACA’s Connected Black Professionals Employee Resource Group believes that the acknowledgement of Juneteenth is a way in which we can encourage our colleagues to pause with us for a moment of reflection on the message of freedom from oppression and to honor those who never received it. We ask you to take time this month to reflect on the history of Juneteenth.
About the Authors
Joel Bernardin is a Managing Director in ACA's Performance Services Division. Leria Miles is a Principal Consultant in ACA's Managed Services Division. Together they co-lead ACA's Connected Black Professionals Employee Resource Group which provides networking, training, and support to ACA employees globally.