Erikson Statement: Juneteenth Now A Permanent Day of Recognition

As Erikson Institute continues our journey of listening, learning, growing, and taking action to support our Black colleagues, family members, friends and community, we will be closing on Friday, June 19 in observance of Juneteenth and providing paid time off for employees. This is a small step, with many more to come, as we work to combat structural racism outside and within our own walls.

On June 19, 1865, enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, were finally freed and the Civil War ended. Though the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863—more than two years earlier—it was not implemented in areas still under Confederate control. You can learn more about the history and significance of Juneteenth from The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

We want to be diligent about listening to the community and responding with action. Many people have contributed suggestions in the past week about the importance of commemorating Juneteenth, and we agree.

While this is the first time that Erikson Institute has recognized Juneteenth, it will not be the last. Starting this year, June 19 will be a permanent day of recognition for our staff and students. Dedicating June 19 as a day off is a small gesture of solidarity in a world filled with so many inequities and one more step forward as we build an action plan for racial equity at Erikson.

Our hope is that everyone who is a part of the Erikson community will spend time on June 19th reflecting on the current state of inequity in our nation and community, on how racism is not just discrete acts committed by individuals but is actually a larger structure and system to which we have all been socialized, and thinking about how we can all be part of changing that system.