Juneteenth or June 19th going forward to commemorate the ongoing struggle for racial justice and freedom.">
By: Stephen Lewis
June 18, 2021
And Juneteenth is a reminder of the emancipatory history FTE is connected to in its work with the next generation of diverse leaders, preachers, and scholars making a difference through Christian ministry and theological scholarship.
This week, FTE will observe Juneteenth, the oldest nationally honored commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, which has been celebrated by African-Americans since the late 1800s. Joining organizations that have moved toward marking it as a company holiday, FTE will celebrate Juneteenth or June 19th going forward to commemorate the ongoing struggle for racial justice and freedom.
Since the founding of our country, institutional racism continues to disenfranchise Black and Brown people and stymie the nation’s potential as a global leader in human rights. In light of the racial protests this past year, organizations across the country have explored how they might positively respond. As a result, many have made statements, conducted DEIA/anti-racism trainings, diversified their staff, pledged money to social causes and observed Juneteenth, among other activities, to address racial injustices.
Throughout history, Christian and secular organizations have observed important days as a form of protest, commemoration or celebration from New Year’s, Easter, Independence Day, Christmas, etc. Only within the last 40 years has Martin Luther King, Jr. Day become a federally recognized holiday in commemoration of the man and activists who fought for civil rights.
In spite of the country’s painful history and treatment toward people of African descent, the observation of Juneteenth is an important day for all of us. It signifies liberation and freedom for all. For more than 50 years, FTE has advanced these ideals through its historic mission to support African American doctoral students to become liberatory educators and scholar activists in the academy. As a core value, diversity has catalyzed the FTE staff to become one of the most diverse teams in the field of theological education and philanthropy. Under the leadership of African American leaders, FTE has expanded its programming through the years to address the concerns and leadership needs of a more diverse community. And Juneteenth is a reminder of the emancipatory history FTE is connected to in its work with the next generation of diverse leaders, preachers, and scholars making a difference through Christian ministry and theological scholarship. Today, almost every state either officially or unofficially recognizes Juneteenth as a holiday.
This year’s Juneteenth holiday falls on a Saturday. Therefore, the FTE office will be closed on Friday, June 18th. Our hope is that you will educate yourself on the significance of this holiday in American history and support Black leaders and communities working behalf of freedom and justice for all.
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