Juneteenth: Standing Together for Change

June 16, 2023 | (18) Comments

In recent years, Juneteenth has gained significant and much-deserved recognition as a national holiday. Throughout the weekend and into Monday, many will begin hosting and attending a multitude of festive and historic Juneteenth celebrations and I am beyond proud that all of us at Texas Children’s are able to come together to help celebrate Juneteenth as One Amazing Team.

June 19, 1865 was the day that enslaved African-Americans in Texas gained their freedom. This news came to enslaved people in Galveston, Texas more than two and half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that all enslaved people were now free.

One year later in 1866, the celebration of Juneteenth began as a day of reflection, joy and unity. Today, communities often commemorate this day with parades, concerts and picnics that feature music, dance, storytelling and soulful food.

However, above all the festivities, Juneteenth celebrates the immense strength that can arise when diverse communities — just like our own — come together to advocate for justice, equality and opportunity for all.

The history surrounding Juneteenth also holds deep significance and represents the long-awaited arrival of freedom for millions of Black men, women and children. I have shared before that slavery and racism are without a doubt, a stain on our nation’s history, but by looking back on the past — even the parts we wish never took place — we can learn to foster understanding and empathy and make a commitment to create a more inclusive future.

While Juneteenth celebrates the abolishment of slavery, it also serves as a reminder that the struggle for racial equality and justice is far from over. As much as I wish it were different, I would be remiss to not acknowledge that there are still persistent systemic injustices that continue to impact marginalized communities today.

We cannot turn a blind eye or ignore the hate in this world. Because not only does it exist, it has the ability to inundate future generations if we let it.

How will anything ever change if we do not face injustices and inequalities head-on and stand together for change?

In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. — “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

As we celebrate the beauty and joy that Juneteenth represents, we must also acknowledge that while we have come so far, there is much more to be done in our nation and beyond. And as we indulge in the festivities, I also urge you to take a moment and ask yourself — how can you honor and commemorate Juneteenth in a way that is meaningful to you?

18 Responses to “Juneteenth: Standing Together for Change”

  1. Vicki Stewart

    Thank you for always leading us with genuine love, concern, and integrity. Your leadership is inspiring, and I am so proud to say that I work for an organization that chooses to embrace what is right even if it is not easy. You are an amazing man, Mr. Wallace. Thank you for all you do for us.

  2. Tamie Okpara

    Thank you, Mr. Wallace for your authenticity! Your words and acknowledgement of this holiday are truly appreciated. I am blessed to be under your leadership within TCH!

  3. Shannon McCord

    Mr. Wallace this is beautifully written and inspires all of us to have the courage and stand up for what is right and just. Thank you for your leadership and sharing this important message.

  4. Novelva Montana Brown

    I wanted to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation for your acknowledgment of Juneteenth. By recognizing and commemorating this significant day in history, you have shown a deep understanding of the importance of freedom, equality, and the ongoing journey towards social justice. Your commitment to honoring Juneteenth not only fosters inclusivity and cultural awareness, but also serves as an inspiration for others to learn and grow together. By acknowledging this historical milestone, you have demonstrated a dedication to diversity and the promotion of a more just society.

  5. Lawrence Frimpong

    These are compassionate words of wisdom. The acknowledgment of the plight and history of black people in this country is a step in the right direction. I applaud you for recognizing this. The struggle of black people is real! The legacy cannot be overlooked. It will take just as much time as did slavery to eradicate the long-lasting consequences of its devasting effect. You are an exemplary leader!

  6. Erica Guillory

    This was thoughtful and well written. It’s a huge deal to have leadership that not only acknowledges the struggles, the challenges, and the work that still needs to be done; but, is committed to doing the work to make impactful change, and bring others along on the journey. This heartfelt message is exactly what the doctor ordered and much appreciated!

    With love,
    Erica G

  7. Myree Francis

    Thank you very much for taking the time to share this balanced perspective. This is the first time I’ve worked with an organization/a CEO, that directly addressed the history of Juneteenth and Black Natives. While I will certainly partake in the fellowship and festivities over the weekend into Monday. I will also take time to reflect on how I can honor Juneteenth in a meaningful way.

  8. C R Wright

    Well stated Mr. Wallace! I am very blessed to have a genuine and caring CEO! You love and care for each of us. You always recognize and address the things that concern each of us. I am extremely proud to be a part of this team with an awesome man at the head!!

  9. Rita Johnson

    Thanks Mr.Mark Wallace for this information and the answer to you question… how can you can honor and commemorate Juneteenth in a way that is meaningful to you? how i honor is that im in a parade and Service and help at a event teach the younger generation about Juneteenth…

  10. Norma Tamayo

    What a beautiful message, Mr. Wallace . You are a great leader. That’s one reason why we are so proud working in this institution. Thanks for all that you do for us and the entire organization. More power to you and to the leaders.

  11. Angela Gooden

    Thank you, Mr. Wallace. The importance of this date cannot be overstated; I grew up celebrating this life-changing occasion with my family. There is a rich history associated with Juneteenth, and I’m glad we all have an opportunity to pause and acknowledge there is still work to be done.

  12. Charmaine C. Mondarte

    Thank you, Mr. Wallace for this. I am still learning about the people and history of the United States of America. You are a true blessing as the head and leader of this organization. I am blessed to work for TCH and be under your helm.
    I will celebrate Juneteenth with praying for peace—it can begin with me and I can continue to be a peacemaker.
    Thank you so much, and may the Trinity continue to bless you and bless you, indeed!
    Love in Jesus Christ,
    Respectfully yours,
    Charmaine Mondarte

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