A Juneteenth Reflection as Jubilee Works for Racial Justice
By Nyla Jones, Program Assistant and Racial Justice Advisory Group Member
This June 19th as we celebrate Juneteenth, also known as Black Independence Day, I reflect on the heartbreak and turmoil of the past year – and the increased focus on racial justice that resulted from it. Out of pain and suffering, together we can forge a new path forward and realize the dream of justice and equality for all. The newly created federal holiday for Juneteenth through the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act is an important step forward for our entire nation.
Juneteenth is a day of celebration, but it is a day that was born out of darkness and oppression. It commemorates the last of the Confederate states to abolish slavery in America. This happened in Texas on June 19, 1865.
In my family, we celebrate Juneteenth by getting together with extended family. We host a BBQ and everyone makes a southern dish from recipes passed down by prior generations. This is in remembrance of our ancestors. We dance, laugh, drink, and share stories of joyous moments.
As we celebrate Juneteenth, I’m proud to be a part of the Jubilee community. I see firsthand that the organization shares my values and is committed to equality and inclusion for all. At Jubilee, we are learning, and we will continuously strive to make our environment a more loving, tolerant, and welcoming space for people of all backgrounds. There is no single culture here. We are many ethnicities and identities. All deserve recognition and celebration.
This spring, Jubilee management participated in anti-racism analysis training by Roots of Justice as a step forward in our journey. This training provided an overview of the history of systemic racism, how it manifests in American institutions, and how it can manifest in community organizations like Jubilee. Although we have taken the first step, our vulnerability gave us a clear vision that we have more work to do, and we are committed to doing that work.
Jubilee has created both a Racial Justice Advisory Group and an affiliated Ally Group for employees. We look forward to sharing our journey as a community with you.