EEI Recognizes Juneteenth
June 2021
A blending of the words "June" and "nineteenth," Juneteenth—also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day—memorializes the date enslaved Americans in Texas learned they had been granted their freedom. Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
 
On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free. Although this was two and a half years after President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation – which took effect January 1, 1863 – this day marked the true end of slavery, as news of the Proclamation was delivered to that town. 

In 1980, Texas was the first state to make Juneteenth a state holiday. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia recognize Juneteenth either as a state or ceremonial holiday. This week, both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to establish June 19 as a federal holiday, and President Joe Biden signed the bill into law. 
 
Juneteenth is a day to reflect, take constructive action, and celebrate African-American achievements, while encouraging respect for all cultures.

Reflections

“This week, lawmakers on Capitol Hill voted to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. As we reflect on the historic significance of this day, let us also acknowledge the work that we must continue to do to advance racial and social justice in our communities, our industry, and across our country. I truly believe we all have the power—individually and collectively—to effect change.” – EEI President Tom Kuhn 
 
“Now that Juneteenth will be designated as a federal holiday, I believe it is a small step in the right direction of owning up to the wrongdoings of the past. While to this day I still feel the ramifications and the after-effects of slavery, I believe that it is a symbol of hope—a hope for a better future where we can all live equally and ensure equal justice to all people.” – Collin Wright, EEI Technical Support Specialist
 
Industry’s DE&I Commitment 
 
EEI’s member companies are committed to advancing racial and social justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in their companies and across our industry. Building on programs and work already underway at member companies, EEI launched an industry-wide DEI initiative in September 2020 that integrates workforce development and DEI priorities into one strategic initiative. As of June 2021, the initiative has 100-percent participation, and member companies are taking meaningful actions to advance their DEI commitments. 
 
 
Additional Resources