Juneteenth (June 19th) marks the anniversary of Federal troops arriving at Galveston, Texas, in 1865 to ensure the last stronghold of slavery was finally abolished. Yet, despite ending slavery, struggles of Black Americans have endured to the present day. Even locally, Central Florida has had difficulty reconciling the darker parts of our history, like the events in Rosewood and the Ocoee Massacre.
Since then, laws have changed, movements have erupted, and some progress has been made. In fact, President Biden just signed a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday, giving June 19th the same status as Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and other federally recognized holidays. However, the need continues to make people of color feel included and free to be who they are, paying respect to their ancestry and culture.
As we work towards a time where every Central Floridian can live, love, and thrive, we must not forget our past and the atrocities, which created gaps in the socio-economical position of thriving Black communities.
At United Way, we always stand up for the vulnerable, the disenfranchised, and those on the fringe of society. Whether it is a matter of age, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, creed, or financial status – United Way fights for you because YOU matter. But we know making a difference can’t happen without all of us coming together. United Way believes in this philosophy. It’s in our name. United, we can BE better. United, we can DO better. United, we ARE better.
In honor of Juneteenth, we invite you to deepen your understanding of issues of race and equity by taking a few moments this weekend to watch a video, read an article or listen to a podcast about the complex topic of race in America.
Accept the challenge today and receive a daily email for 21 days that takes less than 15 minutes to digest in the form of a podcast, video, or article. Sometimes progress requires having difficult conversations.
At Heart of Florida United Way, we believe Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are vital to the work we do for everyone every day in Central Florida. So begin the journey to engage and deepen your understanding of racial equity and inclusion.