15 Jun Celebrating Juneteenth
by Margo Green, HR Director
As we approach Juneteenth this year, I find myself reflecting on how it is still somewhat of a “new” day of commemoration for me. It was not something I learned about in school. I do not recall any family members talking about it when I was growing up. In fact, I knew nothing about it until I was an adult. In hindsight, that is interesting to note because on both sides of my family, my grandparents were children or grandchildren of slaves. I can only speculate as to why it was not celebrated within my family. Perhaps the atrocities of slavery were such that no one wanted to speak about them in any capacity.
I believe that today, Juneteenth is viewed in a different light. Juneteenth.com describes it in this way: “Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement…It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future.” The change in perception means my nieces, who are in college now, learned about it in elementary and middle school. Prior to the year 2000, only 4 states commemorated Juneteenth. Now, only 3 states (North Dakota, South Dakota, and Hawaii) do not recognize Juneteenth. Indiana will recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday for the first time this year.
I am more curious now, and I want to turn my reflection into rejoicing. There are several events celebrating Juneteenth in Marion County this year and I am making a point of attending at least one of them. Last year, I was still numb from everything that came to light in 2020. In 2021, I want to push forward, educate, and renew myself. I am happy to be part of #TeamNewHope and proud of the focus and concern New Hope of Indiana has on issues affecting me and my community.