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Perpetually Free: Reflections on the importance of Juneteenth and the ability of proclamation


As we replicate on the importance of the Juneteenth vacation in the US, I’m reminded of the time that I used to be honored to carry one of many previous few remaining copies of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln whereas visiting the Union League Home in Philadelphia.

A man holding a framed document
Right here I’m holding one of many final remaining copies of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln.

In 1864 President Lincoln traveled to Philadelphia and hand signed 40 copies of the Proclamation as a part of a fund elevating effort. The copies have been offered for $20 every, a hefty sum in 1864, to lift cash for the Sanitary Fee — a company which helped present help companies for troopers getting back from the Civil Struggle. A small variety of the signed copies are recognized to have survived.

Holding the doc that Lincoln known as “…the nice occasion of the nineteenth century” was a shifting, transformative expertise for me.

As Dr. Martin Luther King described throughout his 1963 “I’ve a Dream” speech “…this momentous decree got here as a fantastic beacon gentle of hope for tens of millions of negro slaves who had been seared within the flames of withering injustice. It got here as a joyous dawn to finish the lengthy night time of their captivity.”

With this doc and the stroke of a pen, President Lincoln declared that “…all individuals held as slaves inside any State or designated a part of a State, the individuals whereof shall then be in rebel in opposition to the US, shall be then, thenceforward, and endlessly free; and the Government Authorities of the US, together with the navy and naval authority thereof, will acknowledge and keep the liberty of such individuals, and can do no act or acts to repress such individuals, or any of them, in any efforts they could make for his or her precise freedom.”

On Juneteenth, we commemorate the emancipation of enslaved African People. We really feel the gravity of the revelation that information of the proclamation was saved from so many — the final of whom discovered that they have been “lastly free” in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865.  We honor those that endured withering injustice and we have fun the dignity, the perseverance, and the braveness of the African American tradition.

“Holding the doc that Lincoln known as ‘…the nice occasion of the nineteenth century’ was a shifting, transformative expertise for me.” 

I consider the easiest way to protect the legacy of Juneteenth and the ability of the Emancipation Proclamation is to proceed to shine that “nice beacon gentle of hope” on the subsequent steps of our journey.

The facility of proclamation is one thing I replicate on day by day in my work as Cisco’s Chief Social Impression Officer.  Proclamations are greater than phrases. They’ve the ability to vary the course of historical past. Cisco’s function — to Energy an Inclusive Future for All — is a proclamation. So are our Social Justice Beliefs and the 12 actions we’re taking to drive lasting, generational change by addressing inequities, breaking down boundaries, and creating extra inclusive alternatives for individuals to thrive. Our actions are making substantial affect. Now, we’re exploring new methods to go additional — quicker.

“I consider the easiest way to protect the legacy of Juneteenth and the ability of the Emancipation Proclamation is to proceed to shine that ‘nice beacon gentle of hope’ on the subsequent steps of our journey.”

A lot of Cisco’s leaders are sharing their views on “Freedom Day” — together with Maria Martinez on Empowering Traditionally Black Faculties and Universities via our Social Justice commitments and the affect we’re making at Clark Atlanta College.

Right here’s wishing Cisco — the African American group — and the nation a Pleased Juneteenth.

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