Last year Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)/Prince George’s County joined many businesses that chose to close in observance of Juneteenth in response to the convergence of the reckoning with institutionalized racism and violence, the pandemic, and economic unrest; all of which disproportionately effect communities of color. We have since added Juneteenth to our list of annual paid holidays and are pleased to see the Federal government moving towards making it a federal holiday.
We made this choice for several reasons and want to share why Juneteenth matters to CASA.
- Juneteenth is an important celebration (read here for history of Juneteenth) of the end of slavery that we want to honor
- Juneteenth is a reminder that the struggle for freedom is far from over. The trauma of slavery has not been erased from our country and it is imperative that we understand our country’s complicated history to work together to achieve an equitable future.
- On the heels of Mental Health Awareness Month and during PTSD awareness month, we must recognize the impact that racism and violence have on the mental health Black Americans, including youth in foster care.
- Ongoing institutionalized racism is evident in the many ways in which the child welfare system disproportionately impacts Black families. As an organization that partners with the child welfare system, it is CASA’s responsibility to recognize and disrupt bias and advocate for culturally appropriate services.
Juneteenth is a time of joy and celebration while also a time to remember the loss and trauma caused by slavery and its ongoing impact. Much like social justice and advocacy were required to achieve the end of slavery, we must continue to use those tools to ensure the rights of the children and families we serve.
Events and activities https://pgparks.com/juneteenth
Resources and activities presented by the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System https://www.pgcmls.info/juneteenth
National Harbor Concert honoring Juneteenth https://www.bsomusic.org/gala-celebration/
Nonprofit Prince George’s Statement https://www.nonprofitpgc.org/recognition-of-juneteenth
Anti-Racism Resources https://marylandcasa.org/we-stand-with-you-against-racial-violence/