Juneteenth 2024 - TGTHR (formerly Attention Homes)

Juneteenth 2024

Our community thrives when diversity is embraced, valued, and celebrated

The 19th day of June marks Juneteenth — or if you know it by its official federal name, Juneteenth National Independence Day. 

It’s Freedom Day. 

It’s Black Independence Day. 

It’s Emancipation Day. 

A day to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved Black Americans. Honoring this anniversary is one of the many ways we can acknowledge our country’s painful history and the work that still needs to be done, while also celebrating the millions of individuals who make up the Black community.

Juneteenth originated in Galveston, Texas, the last state within the confederacy to let go of institutional slavery. On June 19, 1865, the Union Army made its way into Galveston and announced that all enslaved African Americans were free.

Even though we know that the Emancipation Proclamation freed African Americans in rebelling states (Texas being one of them) from as early as when the Proclamation went into effect on January 1st, 1863, and we know that the Civil War had ended in April of 1865, it took a while for freedom to make its way to the westernmost rebelling state.  There were enslavers who were aware of the implementation of the Emancipation Proclamation, but it wasn’t until June 19th, 1865 that it was actually enforced with the Union Army. And while June 19th freed enslaved people in the rebelling states, it did not free enslaved people throughout the nation. Watch this quick video breaking down the history behind Juneteenth.

Juneteenth is a time to remember, pay homage to, and celebrate the many lives of those affected by slavery, those who fought courageously against abhorrent injustices to make this day possible, and those who make up this vibrant community today. 

The celebrations of Juneteenth may have started in 1865, but it did not become a federally recognized holiday until 2021. Change often stems from thoughtful dialogue, information sharing, and open listening. Conversations with those who possess different viewpoints, partake in harmful misinformation, and or may just be unaware of the current challenges plaguing the Black community are what drive awareness and the shifting of mindsets. It is critical that we continue to initiate conversations not only related to the injustices that have plagued the Black community but also the persistent inequalities that exist in our society against all communities of color.

At the core, ending youth homelessness is a cause rooted deeply in justice. Individuals who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) experience homelessness at disproportionate rates. In 2023, 47% of TGTHR youth identified as BIPOC, which motivates us to build the most diverse, equitable, and inclusive community that we can at TGTHR, ensuring every young person feels embraced, safe, uplifted, and valued.

TGTHR’s Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee is focused on building an organization that is diverse and inclusive by:

  • Reviewing hiring practices, pay & benefits structure, youth representation, and all internal policies.
  • Enhancing internal processes, policies, and procedures by analyzing bias, reviewing vendor list, and creating a pay compensation policy.
  • Strengthening youth representation through a Young Adult Action Board that will support organizational decision-making.
  • Enhancing diversity in board leadership by measuring a diverse applicant pool, including youth, and recruiting people with lived experience.
  • Enhancing anti-oppression education and training by creating a menu of core competency DEI trainings for board and staff members.

Ways TGTHR is recognizing Juneteenth this year:

  • Co-sponsored Rocky Mountain Equality’s Juneteenth Rooftop Poetry Bash and Celebration on June 20th, where we spoke about the importance of JEDI work in the youth homelessness field.
  • Training & Conversations: This month TGTHR hosted their quarterly JEDI Coffee Talk highlighting the critical work the JEDI Committee is doing and plans to do. Inclusivity work is the responsibility of every person here at TGTHR and these coffee talks are an opportunity for staff to meet committee members and learn more about how we can make TGTHR an affirming and equitable place for all staff and program participants.
  • In addition, TGTHR’s June all-staff training was an afternoon workshop on DEI work, led by an outside consultant, Regan Byrd Consulting.

Some things we can all do to support, learn, and actively get engaged not just on Juneteenth, but year-round:

  • Connect with Community:
  • Learn About Black History:
  • Support Black Communities
      • Shop from Black-owned businesses.
      • Donate to organizations that aid Black communities.
      • Hire Black professionals.
  • Drive Policy:
    • Vote in every election.
    • Show up to school board meetings and add your voice to the conversation in support for inclusive lessons.
    • Members of the CO General Assembly not only have a responsibility to create and pass legislation but also to connect with and listen to constituents about the issues that matter to them most. Contacting your State Representative or Senator, whether by phone, email, or postal service, regarding discriminatory legislation can help lawmakers drive impactful bills forward OR stop policies that harm minority communities.
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