From Avery L. Staley, J.D. – Catawba County United Way Board member and Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Multi-Cultural Affairs Lenoir-Rhyne University.
As we celebrate Juneteenth, it is my honor to write a statement that is significant in theory and in practice.
While Juneteenth marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to ensure all enslaved people were freed, it is the word freed that draws a bit of irony. On June 17, 2021, Juneteenth officially became a federal holiday, which formally honors the end of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth is symbolic celebration of physical freedom, but the derivative impact of a system supported by oppression, can be felt by African Americans throughout our nation, and stands in the way of the ultimate freedom.
It is no secret, that we have an immense amount of work to do, to achieve the ultimate freedom. The ultimate freedom includes closing the gap in healthcare equity, closing the education gap, respecting persons of color, working on ending homelessness, in a nation where some cars are worth more than homes.