African American history is American history
June 17, 2022
June 19, 1865 marked the beginning of an era of great hope, uncertainty and struggle for newly freed enslaved people and for our nation. It is important to know our history—African American history is American history. We are a rich part of the fabric of this country who have changed the face of urban and American culture. African Americans, 157 years later, continue to be inspired and empowered to transform their lives and make an impact on society. The ability to have our stories told is vital!
As Imani Perry wrote for The Atlantic, “Racism is terrible. Blackness is not.”
The work I do on the CNHP Board of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and my involvement in other DEI initiatives is so very critical in combating discrimination and inequity. To dismantle systemic racism and to call out the injustices that continue today against African Americans and other people of color, we know for sure it is collective work that requires input, engagement, and commitment from all of us to go on righting the wrongs of society. I believe we are called to make changes, move forward and pave the way for the next generation. We must persist in our efforts to prevent racism and violence towards others. As we celebrate Juneteenth this year think of the lives that were lost and sacrificed throughout history, the progress we’ve made in guaranteeing equity and equality and the leaders who inspire us to face today’s challenges with strength and determination.
“Juneteenth has never been a celebration of victory or an acceptance of the way things are. It’s a celebration of progress. It’s an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible—and there is still so much work to do.” —Barack Obama, Former U.S. President
Written by Marcia Penn, MEd, director of special projects and member of the 2022 People of Purpose cohort