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Meet Our Inclusion Council: Morgan Scott

Marketing Coordinator (DAY) and Inclusion Council member, Morgan Scott

Juneteenth: An Independence Day to Be Celebrated by All

Juneteenth was officially recognized and observed as a holiday 40 years ago in Texas. However, Juneteenth had only recently come into my awareness as a young adult. I hadn’t learned about it growing up in a formal school setting (grade school or college), and it wasn’t something that I had grown up learning about at home. There were very light sprinklings of dialogue around it once I graduated college, but no huge to-do’s or celebrations with fireworks that I can recall. It was indeed a holiday, but pretty much just another day like any other.

Only in the last few years had I done more of my due diligence to research the history of the holiday and its impact on American culture. And still, during these last few years, I hadn’t seen much widespread excitement around celebrating Juneteenth as I have this year.

The last several weeks have been heavy. With COVID-19, we’ve experienced a pandemic that has impacted every human on this planet in some form and has changed our everyday lives as we know it. We’ve also experienced the booming charge of the elephant in the room that has been sitting in the corner of our country for over 400 years. The recent murder of George Floyd has reignited the Black Lives Matter movement in a way that I think many have been surprised to see – it’s different this time.

The work of diversity and inclusion in all spaces is important, and has inched us forward a bit at time to where we are today. But, it has often proven to be difficult, and at times seemingly impossible, to believe real change is occurring. Diversity and inclusion efforts are constantly combating the injustices of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Riah Milton, Na’Kia Crawford (and the countless other Black lives that have sadly been taken before and after the aforementioned) as looming realities that beg to question if this work is effective. It can be daunting, and more often than not, discouraging work that some may feel overwhelmed to even pursue. As horrendous of a crime that George Floyd experienced against him – one that was captured for all to see – it has been the spark that has ignited the real change that the work of diversity and inclusion intends to produce.

Across the country, there’s been anger, sadness, confusion, despair, hope, compassion, empathy, and love – our nation’s people cracked open of their raw emotions. From those emotions, we’ve also seen actionable changes – to our federal, state, and local laws, to company policies, to complete product rebranding – all within a matter of weeks. Again, this time feels different. Widely, it appears that everyone is finally on the same page regarding diversity, inclusion, equality – true liberation is happening, and that is something that I believe everyone should actively celebrate.

Yes, Juneteenth is a day dedicated to honoring the liberation of Black people – it is also so much more. This holiday comes by way of a traumatic history, and yet, we choose to celebrate the perseverance of our ancestors, the fiery soul of our people daring to live and thrive in the now, and the joy that our future lineage will experience. The richness of who we are as a people is woven so deeply into this country’s fabric, and adds a certain spice to the melting pot that is America. That is a happening to not only be celebrated exclusively by those who look like me, but by all of America as well.

Celebrating Juneteenth isn’t only limited to (socially distanced) gatherings. Educating yourself on the history of Juneteenth counts, too! Visit http://juneteenth.com/history.htm as a great resource to start you on your learning journey.