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Volume I  Issue 3
June 2009
In This Issue
Juneteenth: A Brief History
To Restore the World
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bonsai

Dear Lori,
 
Juneteenth is almost upon us, and here at Further The Work we'll be celebrating this African-American tradition by setting up a meet-and-greet booth at the city of Richmond's Juneteenth Festival, on Saturday, June 20th.

The day's festivities begin at 10:00 AM, with a parade originating at Marina Way and Cutting Boulevard in downtown Richmond. The parade will make its way to Nicholl Park at MacDonald Avenue and 32nd Street, where the festival will be held from 11:30 AM to 6:00 PM.

We invite you to come visit us at the Further The Work booth at Nicholl Park. We'll have a gift for the first 100 people who come by, and if you fill out a contact information card for us, we'll enter your name in our raffle -- you might win a $100 gift card from Target!

Don't know the history of Juneteenth? Well, check out the article below for a brief account of its origins.

And as always, we welcome your comments and questions. E-mail us any time, at info@furtherthework.com.
 
All the best,
Rebecca's signature
Rebecca Brown, MA, CFA, CFRE
President, Further The Work 
Stacked handsJuneteenth?? Just What Is Juneteenth, Anyway?
by Rebecca Brown, President, Further The Work

Well, I was trained as an American historian, so here we go....

The 4th of July may be recognized across the United States as the nation's official day of independence, but that holiday's common currency obscures the nation's more complicated historical relationship with freedom and subjugation, of course.

To say that selective disenfranchisement is as old as America itself is putting it mildly. So while the official holiday known as the 4th of July celebrates one significant triumph against subjugation, many other holidays -- though less widely recognized -- mark meaningful occasions of social transformation in the ongoing struggle for equality and social justice.

Juneteenth is one of these. It marks the moment on June 19th, 1865 -- more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation -- when 2000 Union soldiers, led by General Gordon Granger, arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the war was over and that the enslaved were legally free. On that day, General Granger publicly read the following General Order #3:

"The people are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property, between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them, become that between employer and hired labor."

The slaves of Galveston were the last people in the nation to receive official word of this news. Until that point, the Emancipation Proclamation had had little impact on Texas, probably due to  the small number of Union troops that had been available to enforce the executive order. However, with the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in April of 1865 and the arrival of General Granger's regiment, the Union forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance. And Juneteenth -- a day celebrating one more step on the road of freedom from subjugation -- was born.

In the early years after emancipation, former slaves were often prohibited from using public lands for their celebrations, so they held festivals at their churches. Over time, though, they pooled their money to buy property where they could hold larger celebrations. In Houston, one such effort was led by the Reverend Jack Yates, a Baptist minister and former slave. In 1872, less than 10 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, a group of former slaves who called themselves the Colored People's Festival and Emancipation Park Association pooled $1,000 to put down a deposit on ten acres of open land. This legacy remains today as an enduring symbol in Houston; it is still known as Emancipation Park.

It is certainly true that the chief assertion of General Order #3 -- "an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property" -- has yet to be universally achieved in today's United States, almost 250 years later. So Juneteenth celebrations today must be understood to recognize progress towards an intention, rather than its full realization.

Nonetheless, we have come a long way on the path from that undoubtedly hot day in Galveston in 1865. And that progress, surely, is worth celebrating on June 20, 2009, in a public park, in Richmond, California. We'll be there.
Sowing seedsTo Restore the World
by Rebecca Brown, President, Further The Work

There's a belief I hold close to my heart. Though it's found and expressed in many cultures and belief systems around the world, one version that deeply resonates with me is expressed in Hebrew, as transliterated in English: tikkun olam, loosely translated as "the world can be restored."

What I love about this notion is that with the assertion comes an obligation -- if the world can be restored, then each of us has an obligation and an opportunity to foster its restoration.

So, as we celebrate Juneteenth today -- in this century, in this nation, one now led by an African-American President -- I invite all of us to reflect on humanity's age-old struggle for freedom from subjugation, a struggle that is far from over in this United States of America, a nation that wields tremendous wealth and privilege, even in the midst of a recession that causes so much harm to those who can endure it least.

As Juneteenth approaches, we at Further The Work remind ourselves of the ongoing struggle for social justice, for equitable treatment, for compassionate distribution of resources. Our work is driven by the belief that all of us are, indeed, created equal, and that it is the responsibility of the privileged to work side by side with, and on behalf of, those whose equality is denied. We believe that the world can be restored, and should be restored, and that its restoration is fostered by shared purpose, good will, rigorous intentionality, and unending determination.

So we advocate for equal rights and equitable treatment for women, for people of color, for our gay, lesbian, and transgender brothers and sisters, for children, for the poor, for those who live with mental illness or addiction, for the incarcerated, for the homeless and hungry, for all those whose rights are so readily trampled and so easily overlooked.

On behalf of all of them, and drawing on our conviction that the world can and should be made better than it is, we celebrate Juneteenth as a day that honors the quest for equality and social justice.
About Us 

The mission of Further The Work is to advance social justice by maximizing the capacity and efficacy of nonprofit, educational, and philanthropic organizations that are working for the greater good. We accomplish this mission by providing strategic planning, organizational development, project management, and fundraising & marketing services to clients throughout Northern California. 
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