“Every year we must remind successive generations that this event triggered a series of events that one by one defines the challenges and responsibilities of successive generations. That’s why we need this holiday.”
— Al Edwards, Member of the Texas House of Representatives, (2009-2011)
Juneteenth, also referred to as Freedom Day or Liberation Day, is a holiday that celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that slaves were now free and the war was over. The Emancipation Proclamation officially outlawed slavery almost two and a half years earlier, but enforcement of the Proclamation relied on the advance of Union Soldiers, which had been slow and inconsistent. In 1979, Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday. This week Congress passed a bill that would make Juneteenth a federal holiday; it is expected that President Biden will sign the bill into law before this year’s Juneteenth celebration. Currently, 47 states recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday or observance, and many cities in the United States celebrate by holding local community events.
Wong Fleming is committed to observing Juneteenth as a day of celebration and reflection and has made Juneteenth a firm-wide holiday. Wong Fleming has as one of its fundamental values the promotion of diversity because we believe that persons of differing backgrounds and cultures provide us all with a richness of understanding and respect from distinct perspectives. We are fully committed to sustained engagement in helping end racial and economic inequity in our city, community, and industry.