June 16, 2021
Gathre Around: Juneteenth
Like you, we’ve been overwhelmed by recent events that have clearly demonstrated the racism still thriving in the United States. We’ve been overwhelmed many times before by similar events, but somehow the last year seems to have dug deeper into our hearts and caused us to more fully take note of the injustices all around us. We’ve felt it more viscerally and recognized our need to self-educate and become more proactive.
Although we’d always considered ourselves lovers of all people and believers in a liberality of spirit, we became profoundly, uncomfortably aware of our lack of awareness. It humbled us. It distressed us. We are grateful for the opportunity to evolve — to repent, if you will — and to participate in being repairers of the breach.
Here at Gathre, we’ve spent the last year in listen-and-learn mode. We’ve tried to learn and keep our hearts open. We still have much to discover and take on board, but we are grateful to be better informed and more intentionally, actively involved in sharing privilege and opportunity. We will continue to seek knowledge, to grow, to evolve, and to become better. We can’t change the world, but we have dedicated ourselves to improving our little corner of it.
Source for photo: "Emancipation Day.", www.ncmuseumofhistory.org/
Part of that means honoring Juneteenth, the oldest nationally-celebrated annual commemoration of the emancipation of the last enslaved Black people in the United States. It was on June 19, 1865 — two-and-a-half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation took effect — that a Union general finally issued the long-awaited order that led to the freeing of all enslaved people in Galveston, Texas.
This celebration is as worthy of hallelujah as Independence Day, Easter, Passover, or any other joyful acknowledgement of easing oppression. Although we weren’t taught about it in school, we have taken appalling recent events as a beginning, and we’re improving how we understand and interact with the world.
We’ve permanently included Juneteenth as a paid holiday for our employees, and will share ideas of how to participate. We’ve created a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to guide us in effecting necessary change, and included a diversity initiative in our hiring process. We’ve hired a DEI consultant to counsel with us and provide quarterly diversity training to all employees. We’ve redefined our Brand Style Guide, and have developed a new procedure for vetting partnerships and collaborations to amplify BIPOC voices. And we hope you’ve noticed that we’re always striving to represent varied faces, bodies, colors, communities, and populations in our brand imagery.
We’re keeping ourselves accountable in making our values visible, because our consciences dictate that Love One Another is an actionable way of living.
For more information about Juneteenth, we recommend starting with the following resources:
Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper
What is Juneteenth by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Start the Conversation: Talking to Your Kids About Race (Bravery Mag)
Source for photo: https://www.history.com