Today, June 20, 2022, is the first time Juneteenth is recognized as a federal holiday in the United States.
On June 19, 1865, enslaved African Americans in Texas were finally told they were free - nearly three years after the Emancipation Proclamation. A century and a half later, people across the U.S. continue to celebrate on June 19 each year. Juneteenth is also called Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Black Independence Day, and Juneteenth Independence Day. This year, June 19 fell on a Sunday, so the observance of the federal holiday happens today.
This year, the holiday comes a month after a white gunman killed 10 Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, NY, one of the deadliest racist massacres in recent U.S. history - so Juneteenth celebrations may resonate in new ways. We remember and honor those who still struggle and fight for racial equality to this day.
As Juneteenth is celebrated, FosterClub is also reflecting on the importance of JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) in the child welfare system. We both celebrate the efforts already being made across the country and reflect on the work that still needs to be done to overcome programs and policies that may perpetuate systemic barriers for children and families of color. Our work at FosterClub centers on those who have personally experienced the oppressive nature of the child welfare system.
Below are selected resources that share the perspective of people with lived experience in foster care:
- Holistic Support for Black Children in Foster Care [Youth Radio]
Brittney Lee, a FosterClub Lived Experience (LEx) Leader, shares her own lived experience growing up in a foster care system and provides recommendations to ensure other young people don’t experience the racism and trauma she did.
- Reimagining Racist Systems: Our Lived Experiences with Racism and Discrimination in Child Welfare [Medium - Podcast]
Listen as Corey Best, Sarah Smalls, and Aliyah Zein share their lived experiences with racism and discrimination in the child welfare system. In this most recent podcast from Family Voices United, they articulate their vision of an equitable, anti-racist system that supports and strengthens all children and families.
- White Privilege in Child Welfare: What Racism Looks Like [The Imprint]
Dr. Sharon L. McDaniel, founder, and CEO of A Second Chance, Inc., discusses the historical context through which racism and racial disproportionality developed in child welfare practice. The article includes suggestions for deconstructing these racist policies within the system.
In the spirit of all we can achieve through compassion and community, FosterClub wishes you a proud and reflective Juneteenth holiday observance.