In our work towards racial equity and belonging, Teach For America added two new organization-wide holidays to its calendar in 2020 - Juneteenth and Indigenous Peoples Day. As we continue to recognize and celebrate these holidays in 2021 and beyond, we are excited to share their history in our country and why we chose to honor them as an organization.
On June 19th, 1865, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation Order Number 3 was issued to the people of Texas which read:
"The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer."
In the years following, June 19th, known as Juneteenth, became an annual celebration for many people who identified as Black or African-American. It is a day to commemorate freedom, liberation, and jubilation.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day:
Since 1991 a growing number of communities have celebrated the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day. This is a purposeful departure from the federally named holiday of Columbus Day on the same date, to create visibility and recognition to Native communities and their history, contributions, tribulations, and pain in this country. The Smithsonian shares this in honor of Indigenous Peoples Day,
“Indigenous Peoples Day recognizes that Native people are the first inhabitants of the Americas, including the lands that later became the United States of America. And it urges Americans to rethink history.”
One day will not overcome the erasure of America’s Native community, but it represents an opportunity to honor and celebrate Indigenous history, people, language, and cultures.
Juneteenth and Indigenous Peoples Day were added to Teach For America’s organization-wide holiday calendar which also includes Independence Day, Labor Day, General Election Day, Veteran’s Day, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President’s Day, and Memorial Day.
About Teach For America
Teach For America works in partnership with 350 urban and rural communities across the country to expand educational opportunity for children. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding leaders who make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Today, Teach For America is a force of over 64,000 alumni and corps members working in over 9,000 schools nationwide in pursuit of profound systemic change. From classrooms to districts to state houses across America, they are reimagining education to realize the day when every child has an equal opportunity to learn, lead, thrive, and co-create a future filled with possibility. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Kristine Frech, VP National Communications