MGEC apologizes for statements included in our recent Juneteenth website update. We recognize now that in saying Juneteenth matters to MGEC to be able to “celebrat[e] our common humanity and dignity” we wrongly tried to play the issue both ways, given the MGEC Board’s history of silence on issues affecting the humanity and dignity of our members who are BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, disabled, and/or part of other marginalized communities. We cannot just celebrate the fight against racism when it is convenient to us (e.g., getting a day off work). We understand now that we must work to do better to fight it when it is inconvenient as well.
In particular, MGEC apologizes for making the gross comparison between not receiving an additional paid holiday and the 2+ years of additional slavery and servitude in Texas following the Emancipation Proclamation. Thank you to members who reached out to tell the Board and MGEC staff that this was harmful. We understand that this comparison is egregious to our Black members, and we apologize for our statements. We encourage all members who do not fully understand the history or importance of Juneteenth to refer to this website for a full history from a BIPOC lens. Despite not getting the day off, we encourage members to acknowledge Juneteenth by volunteering your time, donating to BIPOC organizations, and/or giving patronage to Black-owned businesses in your community.
We recognize that MGEC needs to do better in the future. MGEC’s leadership and staff will be working on diversity, equity, and inclusion improvements to make MGEC better for our members. Please reach out to us if you would like to share any feedback for ways in which we can improve.
Thank you for reading and we hope you had a happy Juneteenth.
Why Juneteenth Matters to MGEC
Many of us were taught in primary education that slavery ended at the close of the Civil War when President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, and that emancipation occurred for all enslaved people at the same moment. But it didn’t.
Slavery ended at different points in time – and enslaved people in Galveston, Texas did not have their human dignity recognized until Union Major General Granger arrived and enforced emancipation on June 19, 1865. Imagine the nearly two-year period where some enslaved people had been freed but others were not. While news took time to travel, it was a period of justice promised but denied. Click here to learn more about the history of Juneteenth.
Many private and public employers have recognized this holiday. Many are also beginning to promote a deeper understanding of the importance of Juneteenth by hosting community events.