Juneteenth National Independence Day
Yesterday, June 17th, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the law officially making Juneteenth National Independence Day a federally recognized holiday. This is the first holiday approved since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was signed into law in 1983.
California State University, Chico's Associated Students was ahead of the federal government and voted to recognize the holiday with a paid day off for their organizational staff earlier this year. They are the first Associated Students in the CSU system to do so.
What is Juneteenth?
Not to be confused with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st 1863. The first Juneteenth was 155 years ago on June 19th 1865.
It is the day that Union Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to inform the slave owners that the Civil War had ended and inform the slaves of their official freedom. This took place about two months after Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, Virginia. Good news doesn’t always travel fast.
The holiday has been celebrated by African-Americans since the late 1800’s and will most likely be celebrated this year with a renewed spirit as civil rights is at the forefront of our nation's mind.
Living our Mission
Butte CAA is a member of the larger Community Action Partnership that connects CAA’s across the nation. Here is an excerpt of what they had to say:
Almost 56 years ago, Community Action was born as part of the civil rights movement, and we continue to denounce all forms of violence and any acts that dehumanize anyone. The words of the Community Action Promise articulate who we are and what we believe, "We care about the entire community". And, in love and unity, we will interrupt the darkness of this time and will continue to "embody the spirit of hope".
Work to Be Done
This Juneteenth we celebrate and recognize the milestones we have made as a country, but remain fixed on the work we still have to do.
California has the highest poverty rate in the county, even though it is one of the more affluent states 36% of the state falls below or near the poverty line. A large portion of those experiencing poverty are BIPOC (Black Indigenous and other People of Color). Butte County as a whole has a staggering 20.5% poverty rate.
Our Butte CAA has many branches of operations to help those in need across not only Butte County but also the North State, and our programs are ever evolving to meet the specific needs of our communities.
If you feel like you want to be a part of that, we please ask you to consider donating your time via volunteering or by making a monetary donation. Together we can "embody the spirit of hope" more than we ever could alone.