By Randy Corradine,
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Happy Juneteenth – Freedom Day! I want to hold space and acknowledge that the smog has thickened in the past couple of months. The invisible virus looms, mass shootings, gun violence, hate crimes, a war abroad, inflation, and the persistent symptoms of racism overwhelm national headlines, social media, and our communities. There is so much everywhere all at once – we are bombarded. It has smothered us all in many ways. I say all this to say that some days I am not okay. My heart is heavy, and my tank, at times, is on empty. Most days I choose joy generated in relationships and community and grounded in love. The YouthCare community reminds me daily that we do hard things and we do something every day that has purpose and matters to end youth homelessness in Seattle and to build bridges for young people so they can thrive.
Celebrate Black Liberation! Observe with Purpose this Juneteenth:
Juneteenth is a cause for celebration, remembrance, and a call to action as our country continues to reckon with our history of systemic racism. Juneteenth celebrations date back to 1866. Juneteenth has been celebrated in Black communities for decades, but many people outside of those communities had no or limited understanding of it. For many in the United States, this year marks the second year of federal and widespread nationwide commemoration. The enslavement of people was first made illegal in non-slave-holding states when Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. On June 19, 1865, the last slaves were liberated by Federal troops in Texas – a day celebrated in that state ever since.
YouthCare has observed Juneteenth as a cultural holiday for staff for years before President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law on June 17, 20022. Through the advocacy of YouthCare staff equity champions, YouthCare is committed to collectively celebrating Juneteenth and honoring its legacy. We still have a lot of work to do for racial justice and ending youth homelessness, but we remain unflinchingly committed to the work ahead. Join us! Celebrate Black Liberation!
Be Inspired & Change Narratives!
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at YouthCare