Commemorating Juneteenth

Juneteenth Celebration at Emancipation Park 1880

Juneteenth Celebration at Emancipation Park, 1880

On Wednesday June 16, 2021, the US Congress passed a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the US. Juneteenth, or June 19, is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States – two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.  President Biden signed the bill on Thursday June 17, 2021 to formally enact Juneteenth as a national federal holiday.

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June is Pride Month

LGBT Gay Trans Pride BLM Fist FlagEmercado 2020, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

June is Pride Month, honoring the events that occurred during the Stonewall Uprising in 1969. This month we recognize the growth of LGBT+ rights and the impact this community has had across the nation and around the world. The rainbow flag that defines LGBT+ Pride has many variations that have developed over the years to fully represent the diversity of this community’s gender identities and sexualities.

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March is Women's History Month

Women’s History Month gives us an opportunity to recognize women’s achievements and contributions made throughout United States history. This month celebrates the role of women in a variety of fields – science, literature, arts, education, politics and more. NACRJ encourages you to take time to explore the inspiring trials and tribulations of American women of the past and present. Learning about women’s history in our country is a step in the right direction toward providing a fruitful future for the next generations of successful women.
The photos below represent the great strides women have made advancing gender equality, workforce diversity and public policy. These images call on us to remember with great pride the immensely important accomplishments of women who dedicate their lives to creating a more just and equitable society.

Top: Women Selling the Women’s Journal (c. 1915-1919)
Bottom: Women of the 116th Congress (March 2, 2020)

Women selling the Womens Journal c. 1915 1919

Women of the 116th Congress


February is Black History Month

Four Hundred Souls

Black History Month is an opportunity for communities to honor African American leaders and changemakers throughout history. This month encourages us to take time to recognize the resilience and achievements of the Black community, and how their messages of equality and acceptance have endured in the face of widespread oppression.

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K-12 Educators on World Teachers’ Day 2020

WTD Image

Photo by Stephane Mahe/Reuters for Business Insider

October 5 is World Teachers’ Day, which celebrates teachers worldwide. This day of recognition was created by UNESCO in 1994 and commemorates adoption of the 1996 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. The act set regulations for the rights of teachers regarding their education, recruitment, and standards for teaching and conditions for learning.

The theme for 2020 is “Teachers: Leading in Crisis, Reimagining the Future”. NACRJ recognizes and celebrates teachers for their many achievements and dedication to the wellbeing of students. This is particularly evident now as they struggle to meet the needs of their students and safely reopen schools under COVID-19 public health limitations. Their creativity and selfless dedication in these strange and dangerous conditions is awe-inspiring.

Every year, UNESCO hosts convenings and celebrations to promote teachers all over the world. This year’s virtual events will take place online from October 5 through October 12. There will be discussions of the lessons learned and successes in responding to school closures, transitioning to virtual classrooms, the challenges of reopening schools and retrospectives on crisis responses among educators all over the world.

Juneteenth - "Freedom Day"

Each year on June 19 we celebrate and remember the Emancipation of Slaves across the United States.  The significance of the date is that it was on June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas that US Army General Gordon Granger read the federal order freeing all slaves held in the State of Texas.  At the time Texas was the most remote slave state and despite the Emancipation Proclamation being signed by President Lincoln two years earlier, news of the end of slavery had not yet reach Texas.  It was on that date that all slaves were finally freed. 

On Friday June 19, 2020 at 5 pm PT Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY) held a Juneteenth Community Conversation on-line.  The focus of the conversation will be on Bryan Stevenson's inspirationational work over the last 35 years fighting to correct injustices in the American criminal justice system  The recent movie "Just Mercy" told the story of one man's case - Walter McMillian - of wrongful conviction.

RJOY invites you to join them for a Freedom Day facilitated discussion of Bryan Stevenson's inspirational pursuit of justice.  It is important that we reflect on this moment of reckoning in the year 2020 and engage in a conversation acknowledging how far we've come and imagine where this cultural shift is challenging us to go. 

Visit Bryan Stevenson's website - Equal Justice Initiative.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Celebrating His Dream, Life and Legacy


 On Monday MLK Day and all week we celebrate the life and "dream" of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  He worked tirelessly to realize his dream of pluralistic, just and diverse society grounded in respect, dignity and eauality. Ultimately gave his life to free African Americans and other minorities from racial opression in the United States.  His life and work embodied a desire for a more equitable and socially just society which lived up to the eloquent vision expressed in the U. S. Declaration of Indedendence (July 4, 1776):

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Two of Dr. King's most important and influential works during the Civil Rights Movement are presented here: 

His life and work changed America in profound and lasting ways. His message continues to call on us to "walk the walk" of peace, dialogue, and understanding to bridge differences and conflicts.  This week we honor Dr. Martin Luther King and his vision of a more just nation.  It is a vision NACRJ shares.