Acknowledgement and Celebration of Juneteenth
June 18, 2021
By Mani Oliva, CEO
June 19th, is America’s second independence day. It’s also known as Juneteenth, Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day and is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of Black Americans who had been enslaved in the United States. On June 19th, 1865, Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas, with the news that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state were free by executive decree. This day came to be known as “Juneteenth,” by the newly freed people in Texas.
Do you know the story of Juneteenth? Learn more from the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
For me June 19th is a time of reflection on the enormous injustice that Black American communities endured due to slavery and racism, as well as the grace and strength they and allied communities demonstrated to rise up to fight for and claim equal rights. This is a struggle that continues and deserves recognition and celebration today and every day.
As a conservation organization, we have dedicated ourselves to protecting nature and addressing critical environmental challenges such as climate change for the benefit of both wildlife and people. A fundamental tenet of our work has always been working in partnership with communities, which is what has allowed us to continue to learn, grow, and achieve our collaborative successes. At the same time we recognize through efforts like the Green 2.0 Report that the environmental movement has not always included all voices, and has often upheld systems that have marginalized and exploited many communities and excluded them from decision making and sharing in the benefits of this work.
At Point Blue we are committed to a journey of learning and adapting across the organization and all of our programs the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We believe that respect for ecological diversity requires respect for human diversity. And we understand that successful conservation outcomes must include all voices and ideas to achieve the pace and scale needed. As an organization we are currently on a journey to strengthen our systems and programs to be more inclusive and equitable, and to support a culture that promotes equity, diversity, and the inclusion of all communities.
We are also committed to elevating and highlighting organizations and individuals throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and California (our home grounds) that are doing an incredible job fighting for the rights of Black Americans and working toward equity and justice in society and environmental conservation. We will be using our social media platforms to elevate these important voices, and those of other diverse communities, we encourage you to join us on our learning journey as well as find new ways to be more involved.
As always, we are grateful for your support to fulfill our mission, which is more relevant today than ever before.