Juneteenth 2022 Message

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Juneteenth 2022 Message

June 17, 2022

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”

— The text of the proclamation brought to Galveston, Texas, by General Gordon Granger, June 19, 1865.


Melwood was founded on three key principles: innovation, inclusion, and social good. “Inclusion” sometimes seems to be taken for granted, but in truth, this is a value we need to honor in our actions, as well as in our words.

Juneteenth is an important occasion for honoring inclusion because it speaks to the difficulties—and yes, the continuing challenge—of ensuring the full inclusion of some of the earliest builders of this country. It was on January 1, 1863, that President Lincoln issued the Proclamation of Emancipation. But it would take two and a half years for emancipation to reach the farthest reaches of slaveholding territory, when General Gordon Granger carried that message of freedom to the enslaved people of Galveston, Texas. This was June 19, 1865, and ever since then, “Juneteenth” has been a day of celebration in African American communities around the country. It would take another 150 years, however, for the day to be recognized as an official American holiday.

Truthfully, Juneteenth is not only about the journey of African Americans out of slavery; it is importantly about the journey of America itself, to rid its institutions of a flagrant injustice. And that journey is far from finished. Every step we take toward full inclusion of all our citizens represents an advance in that significant journey. That is why Juneteenth is appropriately called America’s second Independence Day.

In honor of Juneteenth Day, Melwood’s campuses in Prince George’s County, Charles County, and Arlington County will close at 3:00 PM Friday, June 17 and be closed on Monday, June 20.

Melwood’s Day Programming will remain open so that we can achieve the required 250 days of program service.

Melwood Contract Employees should contact their site supervisors to verify departure times and confirm closure. We want to ensure that Melwood fulfills its obligations to the sites we support.

As we reflect on the struggles of the past and those that continue today,  it is important to remember that change is possible. Thank you for being part of the change.

Have a safe and healthy holiday.

Larysa Kautz

President and CEO

About Melwood

Melwood is one of the largest employers of people with disabilities in the country, employing more than 1,600 workers – nearly 1,000 of whom are people with disabilities. Melwood offers job placement, job training, life skills for independence, and support services to more than 2,500 people each year in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Melwood also has an inclusive summer camp program for children and provides employment and support services to veterans and active-duty military members who have experienced service-related trauma or injury. For more information, visit

Media Inquiries

Jewelyn Cosgrove
Vice President of Government and Public Relations
O: 240-846-3952
[email protected]


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