This weekend, communities around the United States will gather to reflect upon and celebrate Black freedom and culture. Sunday, June 19th, is Juneteenth, the date that the last enslaved Americans were released from bondage in 1865. Now recognized as a federal holiday, Americans commemorate the date as an additional Independence Day and continue to define traditions in observance of the occasion.
At the Institute for Sustainable Communities, our mission is to support communities worldwide in addressing environmental, economic, and social challenges to build a better future shaped and shared by all. There is no sustainable future without equity. Black communities are disproportionately living the impacts of climate change, from extreme heat, to food deserts, to increased storm activity and flooding. Because of this, racial equity is the cornerstone of ISC’s work in the United States.
We encourage you to join ISC in honoring America’s second Independence Day by engaging with your local communities to reflect, learn and serve. Here are a few ideas:
1. Connect with organizations that place equity for Black and Brown people first.
Around the U.S., Partnership for Resilient Communities members are creating resilient and thriving communities. This Juneteenth and beyond, search for similar organizations in your neighborhood to support or volunteer.
2. Support African-American and Black-owned businesses.
Investing money in small companies and entrepreneurs provides opportunities for economic development, property ownership, and generational wealth.
3. Assess your organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion practices.
Does your business or office provide equitable opportunities for all employees? Do you have diverse senior leadership? Be transparent about your company’s initiatives and areas for improvement. See our Core Competency documents from the Urban Equity Climate Compact for more resources.