As a part of our expanding initiatives in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the PCMA Capital Chapter has worked hard to provide exposure to global and national awareness months and days. Some are celebrations, others memorials reminding of the loss and sacrifice along the road towards equity and inclusion.
June is no exception as we celebrate LGBTQIA Pride, and Juneteenth. Both are celebrations of major steps towards freedom and equality, but both originate from systemic hate, inequality, and marginalization of humans and human rights.
Originally known as “LGBT” (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) and now LGBTQIA (adding Queer, Intersex, and Asexual/Agender) in order to represent the full spectrum of sexual orientation and identity, was established to commemorate the Stonewall riots that occurred on June 28, 1969.
Following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons rioted. This riot and protests spanning several nights were the watershed moment in the modern LGBT rights movement and the impetus for organizing LGBT pride marches.
Juneteenth, celebrates the emancipation of Enslaved African Americans on June 19, 1865. Originating in Galveston, Texas via general order number 3 proclaiming freedom for all slaves in Texas.
While President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1862 had officially outlawed slavery, this was often not enforced until Union soldiers arrived to enforce it. Texas was one of the last states to officially proclaim freedom of slaves.
On June 17th, 2021 Juneteenth was finally recognized as a federal holiday when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law.
Both of these important events celebrate the progress in the fight for equality across the diversity spectrum. They must, like all national/global awareness initiatives, remind us of the work to still be done to end systemic racism, hate, and inequality.
I am proud to have the ability to serve the PCMA Capital Chapter as an open and out Gay man, and acutely aware of the work generations before fought to enable me to be who I am, and where I am today, open and with pride.
We still have work to do, people to bring to the table, and systemic changes to create a welcoming and equitable world, but it is important for us all to recognize and never forget the accomplishments made by community members in the past.
Happy Pride, and happy Juneteenth! Thank you for supporting and working towards continued awareness and equality in our community.
Senior Director of Meetings & Events, Americans for the Arts
President, PCMA Capital Chapter