CEO Corner

Follow our CEO, Manuel Oliva, for insights and inspiration on the direction of conservation science today.

Juneteenth 2022: An Historic Moment to Reflect, Recommit, and Celebrate

The Juneteenth flag symbolizes freedom and justice for Black Americans and African Americans. Image via Office Holidays

It’s been one year since President Biden designated Juneteenth–America’s second independence day and celebration of the end of legal slavery–a federal paid holiday. This will be the first year that Point Blue will be celebrating it as such and we are not taking the moment for granted.

The murder of George Floyd on May 25th, 2020, served as a culminating event following many other similar tragedies that shook our nation and spurred our most recent swell in the ongoing movement for racial justice and equity in America. Since that time, we have made important, albeit long overdue strides as a nation and as an organization on an evolving journey to embrace and take action in support of this movement. The official federal recognition of Juneteenth as a national holiday is an important step in the journey for all Americans to deconstruct harmful structures of oppression within our institutions; celebrate the resilience and success of communities of color in the face of oppression; and create space for us to rebuild better, truly inclusive communities, processes, and opportunities.

Conservation by its very nature includes a process of healing and rebuilding. And I am greatly appreciative that all of us have committed to this movement, to help heal and protect our natural world that offers so many important benefits to our communities and our society. However the conservation movement has been subject to the same broader societal forces that have excluded the needs of many communities. At the same time there is amazing potential from the richness of ingenuity and experience of diverse communities that will allow for more impactful and sustainable conservation outcomes.

At Point Blue, we have been making efforts to address racial, economic, and gender inequity in conservation science over the past two decades and more pointedly in the last three years as I’ve described in previous communications like this one. On a monumental day like this in our organization’s and nation’s history, I believe it is important to acknowledge and own our past, celebrate the ways we’ve grown and evolved, and recommit to our goals and responsibilities. For me as CEO, I am recommitting Point Blue to increasing our partnerships with all the communities we serve–especially those historically underrepresented–to center equity within all of our work and programs, and to offer greater opportunities for diverse apprenticeships and early career scientists to grow the pool of talent to achieve the success we need. And I ask you to join us in whatever way you can.

I also invite you to celebrate this important day with your communities wherever they are. Here are a few options in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond:

San Francisco Citywide Black Student Union Juneteenth event photo. Learn more at


I’ll close by sharing a sentiment from President Biden that I firmly stand behind as a conservation leader:

“On Juneteenth, we recommit ourselves to the work of equity, equality, and justice.  And, we celebrate the centuries of struggle, courage, and hope that have brought us to this time of progress and possibility.”