Melwood Celebrates Juneteenth
June 14, 2023
Innovation. Inclusion. Social Good. These are the three principles on which Melwood was founded sixty years ago. Celebrating the upcoming Juneteenth holiday is an important occasion for honoring inclusion because it speaks to the difficulties—and the continuing challenge—of ensuring the full inclusion of African Americans, some of the earliest builders of this country.
Although President Lincoln issued the Proclamation of Emancipation on January 1, 1863, it would take two and a half years for emancipation to impact 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, sometimes referred to as America’s second Independence Day.
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.
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.
In honor of Juneteenth Day, Melwood’s campuses in Prince George’s County, Charles County, and Arlington County will be closed on Monday, June 19. (REMINDER: per my previous email, Melwood campuses will be closing at 3:30 pm on Summer Fridays, starting this week.)
All Contract Employees and Day Program Staff should contact their site supervisors to verify departure times. We want to ensure that Melwood fulfills its obligations to the sites we support.
Have a safe and healthy holiday.
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 www.Melwood.org.
Vice President of Government and Public Relations