Dean Linda Burton's Juneteenth message

June 19, 2020

My Dear Haviland Community--

Today marks Juneteenth, the anniversary of the day when slavery finally ended in the United States on June 19, 1865 -- two months after the Civil War ended and two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. For over 150 years, Juneteenth has been celebrated in Black communities as an affirmation of freedom and resilience. This year Juneteenth has attracted more attention than usual. I am encouraged to see how many people and organizations are acknowledging this profound day. Let us hope that the messages filling our inboxes go beyond a momentary awareness of injustice and grow into real, lasting change.

We all know that creating and sustaining equality in America is very much a work in progress. Persistent racism means that people of color are more likely to lose their lives to physical and structural violence; that children marginalized by their race and/or ethnicity are discouraged from achieving their full potential; and that communities cordoned off and isolated by racial and socio-economic politics don't have the resources they need to thrive. As I wrote last month, we all need to be asking ourselves how we can be part of the solution to these persistent assaults and inequities, and what we can do today -- thoughtfully, mindfully -- to build a better tomorrow. We will be talking more intensively about this in the weeks and months to come!

Juneteenth is also a day to celebrate the richness of Black culture. It's a good day to reread Maya Angelou's poem "Still I Rise" and listen (again) to Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come." It's a good day to learn more about the history of Juneteenth if you're not familiar with it. It's a good day to support a local black-owned business or donate to an organization working for social justice. It's a good day to lift each other up and gather strength for the work ahead.

Enjoy this beautiful day!

Building together,

Dean Burton