Updated: Jun 22, 2021
For more than 50 years, the Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture has been working alongside organizations throughout Chicago that are removing barriers, creating opportunities, and addressing segregation, racism, and inequity in our city. Today, we recognize Juneteenth—a meaningful holiday that creates the opportunity for critical reflection on equity and social justice for everyone.
As an organization, we are holding space for our staff to celebrate Juneteenth by making it an official holiday, and in support of our first-voice program pedagogy, our students will continue their learning and unlearning about race in our city and country by visiting programs and neighborhood throughout the term.
The Chicago Center designated Juneteenth as an organizational holiday to celebrate the emancipation of those who were enslaved. Observed each year on June 19th, Juneteenth commemorates the date in 1865 on which federal troops informed enslaved peoples in Galveston, Texas, that the Civil War--and along with it, chattel slavery--had ended. This announcement came two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring an end to slavery by executive order. It is considered to be the longest-standing Black holiday in America.
The Chicago Center is committed to a more just society for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities and lives. The social reckoning has shined the light on the anti-Black racism that still exists in our communities and country today and we know the path toward dignity and equality for all is long. On Juneteenth, we renew our commitment to building global citizens who will champion anti-racist and more equitable efforts in our city and world.
Tyler L. Hough, MS