Gain Perspective from Dr. Hedy Lemar Walls

As we celebrate Juneteenth on Saturday, June 19, let’s take a look at the history of this holiday and what it means today. Two years, six months and 18 days after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation into law, Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865 to inform the last enslaved African Americans in the United States that they were finally free. Even though Juneteenth symbolized the official end of slavery, generations of African Americans continued to face inequality, racial discrimination, violence and the creation of new laws that prohibited safety, inclusion and economic progress. Learn more about the Y of the North’s commemoration of Juneteenth - Commemorating Not to Forget on Thursday, June 17.

This past year we have seen firsthand in our state that Blacks are disproportionately affected by systemic racism from George Floyd’s murder to the pandemic’s economic and health disparities. In our equity journeys, we have learned about the incredible resiliency African Americans have and the invaluable contributions they have made to our country. Juneteenth is a day for celebration of African Americans. It is also a time for us to recommit to our own personal efforts to create a more equitable future for all in our community.

Whether it is the Equity Leadership Institute, Transformational Workplace Culture series, custom training, free online classes or more, the YMCA Equity Innovation Center of Excellence is here for you to intentionally engage in thought-provoking experiences and resources that will expand your knowledge and skills.  We hope you will join us as you continue your equity journey.