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United Way Blog

United Way’s First Black, Female CEO Reflects on Juneteenth

I first learned about Juneteenth when I attended law school at the University of Texas. And when I learned about it, I wondered why hadn't I known about this? Why wasn't I taught this in school?

But I'm so glad that I know about Juneteenth now. I think it's wonderful that we celebrate Juneteenth nationally and recognize what it means in the history of the United States.

The United States was founded by men and women that were seeking a better life and that founding spirit is still alive and well in America today. That's what's so great about the United Way network: that we exist to create equitable futures for men and women, boys and girls in all of our communities.

I'm grateful that we have the opportunity to celebrate Juneteenth. It reminds us of the importance of ensuring that all Americans have the ability to thrive and to live in communities where they have access to education, health care, jobs -- and freedoms.

I am so grateful for Miss Opal Lee, who is known as the grandmother of Juneteenth. For so many years, Miss Lee walked miles every Juneteenth 19 to commemorate the fact that slaves in Texas did not know that they were free until almost 2.5 years after slaves in the rest of the country had been freed. Thank you, Miss Lee, for your dedication!

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