Juneteenth commemorates the day federal troops arrived to free the last enslaved Americans in Galveston, Texas. Though the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1st, 1863, all enslaved people were not freed until June 19th, 1865; around two and a half years later. This was likely due to news traveling intentionally slow and enslavers disregarding the proclamation.
Juneteenth is the oldest holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the U.S. It became a day of celebration, family togetherness, prayer, barbeques, music, and other joyful events and activities.
How Guild is Recognizing the Date
This week, the team at Guild got together for a Juneteenth Presentation by Stacy Pratt from S. Pratt Consulting with the goal of helping to inform all staff members of the historical significance of this holiday. The presentation was organized by the Guild4All committee, Guild’s internal workgroup focused on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts at the Agency.
Anne Boyer, a Supervisor from Guild’s Delancey Street Services team, serves as a Co-Chair of the Guild4All Committee and was instrumental in bringing this session to the Guild Team. Her focus in sponsoring the presentation was to engage Guild Staff, “Juneteenth has only recently been observed as a federal holiday despite it being a significant event in U.S. History. There is a history behind the holiday and we wanted to share that with others who may not be familiar with that history.”
Anne was also excited to share what Guild4All has been up to, “we also wanted the agency to be involved in a piece of the work we are doing as a committee, to share some of the knowledge that Stacy Pratt continues to share with us during committee trainings, and participate in a discussion that has not been available to the agency as a whole.”
Session presenter, Stacy Prat, commented on the importance of the Guild4All committee, “I have enjoyed working with Guild4All and am proud of the progress they have made so far.”
When thinking about the goals of the Juneteenth presentation, Anne sees progress, “My hope is that the knowledge that was shared during the presentation is shared with others and that this is the first step towards more large group discussions around DEI work.”
Juneteenth Holiday Observed
Beginning in 2020, Guild has recognized Juneteenth as an official office holiday, providing staff with an opportunity to reflect, volunteer, and observe the holiday with their loved ones.
Guild staff and clients are also coming together to support their communities and celebrate Juneteenth. At the Crisis & Recovery Center in Savage, staff and clients are putting together care packages that will be delivered to The Link, a black-founded non-profit supporting youth in North Minneapolis who are being victimized by crime, getting involved in crime and who are struggling with poverty and homelessness. At the Guild Community Support Program in West St. Paul, staff will be celebrating Juneteenth with clients.