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06.22.23 | Sage Advice

Juneteenth: Honoring the Past, Embracing the Present, Envisioning a Vibrant Future

In the spirit of learning and understanding that fuels the Sage Collective, we’re delving into a significant moment in our shared American history, a moment that anchors us to our past as it guides us towards a more inclusive future – Juneteenth.

The essence of Juneteenth is one of freedom and liberation, dating back to 1863 when the Emancipation Proclamation declared enslaved African Americans free. The truth of this newfound freedom, however, took two years to permeate every state, with Texas being the last to hear the news. Hence, Juneteenth was born, officially recognized by President Joe Biden on June 17, 2021.

The celebration of Juneteenth, while filled with joy and reverence for the resilience of freedmen and freedwomen, was not devoid of strife. However, the spirit of determination and unity endured. By pooling resources, formerly enslaved people bought land in 1950, creating Emancipation Park in Houston, Texas, a testament to their collective resilience and a place for future Juneteenth celebrations.

The Juneteenth flag, designed by Ms. L.J. Graff, embodies this shared history and vision. Its colors echo the American flag, asserting the rightful place of freed people and their descendants as American citizens. The central star pays homage to Texas, while the bursting new star symbolizes a new dawn and new freedom.

As we honor Juneteenth, we also acknowledge the complex emotions that accompany this day of celebration. The weight of history can bring feelings of anxiety and stress, emotions we at Sage Collective encourage our members to acknowledge and discuss. We are committed to creating a safe space for these dialogues, believing that understanding our past is a crucial step toward shaping a vibrant and inclusive future.

Juneteenth, much like our mission at Sage Collective, is about embracing freedom and fostering vibrant living for all. It reminds us that freedom is also about the liberation of the mind and spirit. It’s about the courage to acknowledge the pain of our past, the determination to celebrate the progress of our present, and the vision to foster a future of justice, inclusivity, and vibrant living for everyone.

Join us as we commemorate Juneteenth this month and every month, and let its history and values inspire us as we continue to work towards a future where everyone can live vibrantly.

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06.17.21 | Sage Advice

Juneteenth Officially Declared a National Holiday

After the protests in June 2020 that followed the murder of George Floyd, a national reckoning with racial justice has dominated conversations in governments, workplaces, schools, neighborhoods and homes alike. As part of that reckoning, America as a whole is asking itself: how do we better support, celebrate and uplift African Americans and African American culture? One way: making Juneteenth a recognized holiday.

Juneteenth – also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day – is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. It’s an occasion that’s been long celebrated in African American communities, but now attention is being brought to the holiday at the national, state and local level.

In 2020, Cook County officially recognized Juneteenth as a paid holiday for its government employees. Cook County is the largest county in Illinois, and became the largest county in the country to make such a declaration. After this milestone event, the state of Illinois wanted to be the next to follow. 

Legislation was unanimously approved by the Illinois House and the state Senate to make June 19th a paid holiday off for all state employees, as well as a school holiday. The legislation states that if June 19th falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the holiday will be observed on the following Monday. After J.B. Pritzker officially signed off on the bill on June 16th, it became official. Juneteenth is an official state holiday in Illinois, beginning on January 1, 2022. Unfortunately, Juneteenth falls on a Sunday in 2022, and the holiday will have its first chance to be formally recognized in 2023 as a paid day off for state employees as well as a holiday off from school. 

The Illinois bill was first sponsored by Representative La Shawn Ford. He’s also sponsored similar legislation in the past, but told the Chicago Tribune, there “wasn’t an appetite” for passing the legislation previously. He then told the Tribune that all changed after the murder of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minnesota, saying, “Now, post-George Floyd, this is the time,” Ford said. “Some would say this is an African American holiday, but it’s an American holiday.”

Illinois isn’t the only one taking action. On Tuesday night (June 15th), The Senate unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday establishing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a US holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

The recognition of Juneteenth was a long time coming and hopefully marks a turning point in how the United States – on local, state, and national levels – begins to reckon with its history and present, and create a better future for all.

From Sage Collective to you and yours, Happy Juneteenth!

A photo of an African American woman in a dashiki with the African flag draped over her shoulders. She's walking down the street triumphantly. Text over the image reads Happy Juneteenth, with the Sage Collective logo
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