Today is Juneteenth, the newest federal holiday in the USA. Juneteenth is known as
Freedom Day and represents the critical moment in American history when Union Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Texas to take command of the 2,000 federal troops who had arrived to enforce the Emancipation of the enslaved in Texas and abolition of slavery. This was two and a half years after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
We first heard the story of the "Grandmother of Juneteenth," Ms. Opal Lee, from Kathy McAfee, who has taught and advised our community members about fearless leadership.
Ms. Opal Lee, activist and retired teacher, worked for decades to have Juneteenth recognized as a federal holiday. As a female leader, she continued writing the next chapters in her life and work around the causes she was passionate about. In addition to her local activism on behalf of the Fort Worth community, she tirelessly raised awareness about the significance of Juneteenth. She developed an annual 2.5 mile walk, representing the 2.5 years the news of the abolition of slavery took to become reality in Texas. When Ms. Opal Lee was 89 she did not slow down, she amplified efforts by conducting a symbolic walk from Fort Worth, to Washington D.C. The petition she promoted to honor Juneteenth as a federal holiday garnered 1.6MM signatures.
In June of 2021, all of Ms. Lee's efforts came to fruition as a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday was passed, and President Biden signed it into law with Ms. Lee in attendance at the bill signing ceremony.
To honor today, you can do a 2.5 mile walk as part of Ms. Opal Lee’s Annual Walk. Ms. Opal Lee has accomplished much and recognized as the 2021 "Texan of the Year" by The Dallas Morning News for her activism. Learn more about her.
Kathy McAfee reminds us to be more intentional and fearless in our networking.
This week on Thursday June 22nd, our UP community is invited to a coffee chat hosted by Kathy McAfee with Ms. Opal Lee's granddaughter and Executive Director of her nonprofit, Dione Sims.
Kathy McAfee's Fearlessly Informal COFFEE CHAT social events
Two Dates to choose from:
See you then, and feel free to invite a friend!