“Juneteenth is an occasion for both celebration and preparation. More so an occasion for preparation.” — Rev. Dr. Arnold Thomas
Juneteenth has been celebrated annually in various parts of the United States since 1865. Signed into law by President Biden on June 17, 2021, it became the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was adopted in 1983.
This year, CVMC's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Steering Committee invited Rev. Dr. Arnold Thomas to speak at our Juneteenth celebration.
- Rev. Arnold Thomas, B.A., M.Div., D.Min, Pastor, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Jericho, Vermont
- Anna Tempesta Noonan, RN, BSN, MS, President and Chief Operating Officer, CVMC
Rev. Thomas explained that Juneteenth commemorates and celebrates “the end of slavery in all the Confederate states, which culminated in the releasing of enslaved individuals from Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865.”
The Civil War officially ended on April 9, 1865, but it wasn’t until two months later that the residents of Texas heard the news that all enslaved people were free, in accordance with the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Lincoln 2½ years earlier on September 22, 1862.
Watch the full video to hear Rev. Thomas discuss the postwar events that led to the continued oppression, suppression, segregation, and lynching of Black people, and how that legacy informs the structural racism in our society today.
In conclusion, Rev. Thomas called on us all “to be constantly vigilant in preparing a welcoming climate and place for all Americans to truly be and experience freedom.”
Special thanks to DEI Steering Committee members Christina Larrew, Debbie Reynolds, Mary Riby-Williams, and Monica Urquhart for organizing the event, and to our Nutrition and Food Services team who prepared a fantastic lunchtime meal to honor the day.