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Celebrating Juneteenth Moves Our Nation Forward

Dear GLIDE Community, 

Celebration is a cornerstone of our values at GLIDE. Seeing our national leaders align to make Juneteenth a federal holiday is a joyful moment. This historic step forward represents progress towards a new vision of American inclusivity. It reflects a new ownership of our collective history. It is an important step forward towards our nation’s growing awareness, acceptance, and honoring of our diversity. It also recognizes our collective history of the enslavement of people of African descent.

Juneteenth isn’t just part of African American history; it’s American history. It’s a day for inspiration and recognition of the foundations of our society. What we celebrate as a country – and what we choose not to celebrate – reflects our national values, our worldview, and our cultural priorities. Juneteenth is a day to recognize the lived experiences of African Americans, a journey through oppression marked by the Middle Passage, chattel slavery, Jim Crow laws, and mass incarceration. It is a day to honor and celebrate the triumph of Black genius, courage, resilience, family, faith, love, and artistry, along with the profound impact Black people have in shaping this nation.

For those of us who have been working on systems change for decades, it is encouraging to see forward progress, unprecedented investments, and efforts to remedy longstanding racial inequities across sectors. Every step towards justice and equity counts.

Still, much more must be done. At GLIDE, we are focused on the critical work necessary to address a legacy of systemic racism. We continue to build on our history of fighting for the people and advocating for policies and investments that address the consequences of racial injustice, including homelessness and intergenerational poverty. Our racial justice and reconciliation programs deepen understandings of systemic racism and build empathy in private and public corridors of power to transform lives as well as institutions and to drive systemic change.

As we commemorate Juneteenth in America, together, we also look forward to a future when the Federal holidays of this nation truly reflect the diverse nature, values, and people of this country. This is an important step; taking the moment to celebrate gives us strength to keep going. Every day at GLIDE, we work to advance this vision. This is what we do. At every level. We embody the spirit, the vision, and the purpose of Juneteenth.

In love and solidarity, 

Karen J. Hanrahan 
President & CEO, GLIDE