Today is Juneteenth — the day commemorating the end of slavery. June 19, 1865 was when the last slaves in America were informed that they were free. The message reached them in Texas two-and-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation had legally freed them. And while hundreds of years of slavery in America had finally come to an end, the brutal and racist legacy of the institution would continue and is still felt today.
NFYI is designating Juneteenth as a paid holiday for staff this year and going forward as an observed day of reflection and meaningful engagement for our community. We are deeply concerned about the systemic racism in child welfare and the ways in which it drives terrible consequences in wildly disproportionate numbers for Black, Brown and Native children and young adults. It’s past time for us to recognize that these outcomes are unfair and unjust. It’s past time for our community to address them.
We invite you to join us in reflecting on this important day, in spending time listening to #FosterYouthVoices, and in participating in future work NFYI will be taking on to do our part to dismantle the racism and biases that prevent so many foster youth from thriving.