What Is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth Flag

Like many others, this year will be the first year that my work will close its doors in observance of Juneteenth.

What is Juneteenth?

The question can be answered in multiple ways, but this document timelines and compiles some of the historical events and people that led to its existence. Looking at Juneteenth through this lens will hopefully help us craft ways in which we can celebrate the holiday in a meaningful way.

April 12, 1861:
The U.S. Civil War begins. President Lincoln’s vision was to reunite the nation. He was willing to abolish slavery if that would be a means to reach that goal.

July 1862:
Congress passed the Militia Act. This Act allowed Black men to serve in the U.S. armed forces as laborers. Congress also passed the Confiscation Act. This Act mandated that enslaved people seized from Confederate supporters would be declared forever free. President Lincoln begins working on the Emancipation Proclamation.

September 17, 1862:
Union troops halted the advance of Confederate troops in the Battle of Antietam.

September 22, 1862:
President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. All Confederate states were directed to rejoin the Union within 100 days — by January 1, 1863—or their slaves would be declared “thenceforward, and forever free.”

January 1, 1863:
The Emancipation Proclamation is issued and proclaims, “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” Note the freeing of enslaved people was only in states that had seceded from the United States. Slavery was untouched in the loyal border states: Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, and West Virginia. The Proclamation Emancipation also excluded Confederate States that had already come under Northern control. Most important, the freedom it promised depended upon Union (United States) winning the Civil War. The power of the Proclamation is that it elevated the freeing of enslaved people as a goal of the Civil War.

January 1865:
Both houses of Congress had passed the Thirteenth Amendment.

February 1865:
Lincoln states, “It [The Proclamation Emancipation] is my greatest and most enduring contribution to the history of the war.”

April 9, 1865:
General Robert E. Lee surrendered his Confederate troops to the Union’s Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.

April 14, 1865:
President Lincoln is assassinated.

June 19, 1865:
Union General Granger and federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people are freed. Approximately 250,000 enslaved people were freed. There was a celebration of freedom.

December 1865:
The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified in December. This amendment ended slavery in Delaware and Kentucky.

June 1866:
Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth National Independence Day, Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, and Black Independence Day is celebrated in various states.

In 1996, the first federal legislation to recognize “Juneteenth Independence Day” was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.J. Res. 195, sponsored by Barbara-Rose Collins (D-MI). In 1997, Congress recognized the day through Senate Joint Resolution 11 and House Joint Resolution 56. In 2013, the U.S. Senate passed Senate Resolution 175, acknowledging Lula Briggs Galloway (late president of the National Association of Juneteenth Lineage), who “successfully worked to bring national recognition to Juneteenth Independence Day,” and the continued leadership of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation.

1997: Ben Haith created the first Juneteenth Flag. Mr. Haith was the founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation. The flag has been refined by artist Lisa Jeanne Graf.

2016: In September 2016, Opal Lee, ‘the grandmother of Juneteenth,” embarks upon a symbolic walk from Fort Worth, Texas to Washington D.C. to advocate for a federal holiday. Lee was 12-years-old when on June 19, 1939, five hundred white rioters vandalized and burned down her family home. She was 94-years-old when Juneteenth became a federally recognized holiday.

Jubilee by 2BZen

June 17, 2021:
Juneteenth became a federal holiday on June 17, 2021. It was the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was adopted in 1983.

So, what is Juneteenth? Historian Mitch Kachun considers that celebrations of the end of slavery have three goals: “to celebrate, to educate, and to agitate.”

For me, on Juneteenth I will celebrate the end of slavery and educate and work to ensure freedom, independence, and liberty includes us all.

Reflection Questions:
What Is Juneteenth?
What did you learn about Juneteenth in school and from parents and other family?
Who were the Juneteenth pioneers in your community?
What does Juneteenth mean to you?
How will you celebrate and observe Juneteenth?

Timeline data: Wikipedia.com

The Leadership Journey: Making Change and Achieving Goals

There are the formulas for goal achievement. I’ve read a thousand books and articles— ancient works, white papers, Harvard Business Review articles. I’ve sat through 100+ classes and seminars for degrees and credentialing. I have chopped it up with leadership colleagues and experts, and I have taught and mentored aspiring leaders to success.

Credit: WordPress Word game

I distilled goal achievement to the following formulas:

Be + Do = Have

Right Mindset + Right Action = Desired Results

Intentions + Actions = Desired Results/Goals

Really, they are the same formula restated different ways. There are even more restatements but the essential ingredients are the same. I needed something easy, uncomplicated, and practical.

Let me illustrate each element of the equation with an example:

•The Intention is to be kind to my body and treat it with love

•The Action is walk/run 3 days each week for 30 mins

•The Goal is lose 5 pounds by next month

Credit: WordPress Woman Running

Intentions and actions are inputs. Goals are desired outcomes. Easy. Peasy.

It is most logical to work the equation backwards, because we usually have our goals in mind. From that point, we can ask, “What ways of being support my goal? What actions move me toward that goal?”

Intentions and Actions must align and be strong enough to uphold for the desired goal/change.

Colorful Notebook from 2BeZen on Society6


Our Assignment:

Grab your notebook.

Theory is great! But let’s put what we learned into practice. Today write out three intentions (mindset, ways of being, & overall focus and vibrations) and actions that you will take to will help you attain the goals/changes you want in your life.

Our Assignment: Today write out three intentions (mindset, ways of being, & overall focus and vibrations) and actions that you will take to will help you attain the goals/changes you want in your life.

Check-in daily to ensure alignment and adjust where necessary. At the end of the week, determine your success. Use what you learn to set your intentions and actions for the upcoming week in the pursuit of your desired change.

I’ve shared basic formula to achieving goals. There are more advance materials and additional resources to help your accelerate achieving your goals. You can contact me for those.

But start here. Try the work and see what happens. You have every right to the pursuit of happiness and the opportunities to achieve what matters most to you in your career and life.

Credit: Emma Burcusel’s photo of Zenell

My Sunday Social Media Gratitude List

I don’t know if Social Media Gratitude is a thing but I had an amazing week because of my social media network and needed to pause a recognize it! In fact let me hashtag it: #SocMediaGratitude.

Here are a few highlights from my list:

I acknowledge and am grateful for Lisa Medley for designing her fabulous t-shirt. It says it all for a where I see myself as a professional! I will wear it today!

Lisa Medley created this wonderful t-shirt emphasizing Inclusion and Belonging.

I am also thankful Julie Savarino and her books —quick power packed easy reads with straight forward guidance for move me into action to get my business organized and in order. I call these “Inspire Action Books” because they help busy people get done what matters most to them.

Julie Savarino’s books “Survive & Thrive Post-Pandemic” and “Master-Level Business & Client Development Activity Checklists”

And finally, I spoke with @LeeMeadow and he invited to attend a brownbag on the spur of the moment. Not only did I learn so much about the future of employee benefits, but guess who will be the guest speaker in May?? I’m excited! I will share how HR Professionals can help impact DEI in the judicial system! Life and systems are interconnected; let’s connect the dots and get busy moving DEI forward.

By the way, I met these Fabulous Folks on LinkedIn, and we mutually support and encourage each other. If you are looking for that type of connection, make sure you check out their profiles and connect or follow. Like me, you will be grateful you did.

Happy Sunday and what’s on your Social Media Gratitude list?


Women’s History Month Ends Today. And?

Today is the last day of Women’s History Month 2022. As a woman, it surely felt good to have my identity and issues centered for the past 31 days. But the month is coming to a close.

Well, I want more of those good feelings. I don’t want the party to end. What I really want is change where I’m not waiting for March to roll around each year. I want acknowledgment of women and their discussion of issues to be embedded in our culture, especially in the legal community.

Brother and Sister Counsel, let’s keep the celebration and conversations about women and women issues going!! Moreover, let’s get into action and effect change.

Here’s some to do’s to keep us in the groove, Michigan Lawyers!

🙅🏻‍♀️ Read and Share the McKinsey & Company “Women in the Workplace 2021” Report : https://womenintheworkplace.com

🙅🏼‍♀️🙅🏾‍♀️Observe Women’s Equal Pay Days: https://www.aauw.org/resources/article/equal-pay-day-calendar/

🙅🏼Purchase and discuss some good books in your workplace and in your bar associations on D&I

🙅🏽‍♀️🙅 Get a “Lawyer looks like me” t-shirt for yourself and your favorite Woman Lawyer: https://lawyerslooklikeme.carrd.co/

🙅🏿”Break the Bias” by removing any questions about candidates’ previous salaries from your job apps

🙅🏻‍♀️”Let Lisa speak.” Speak up the next time a woman is interrupted while speaking during a business meeting

🙅🏼Attend/host a conference session centered on women and workplace issues

🙅🏻Stay up to date on legislation and moving it forward. Examples: Tampon Tax & Crown Act

🙅🏻‍♀️Support your law school’s Women Law Caucus by speaking, attending events, or making a donation

🙅🏽‍♀️Learn more about gender-race intersectionality and other gender intersectionalities

🙅‍♀️Call a “Timeout”, “Ouch”, or “Whoa” when things are going left quickly or you need to halt a microagression in process.

🙅🏿‍♀️Take the 21 Grit and Mind Growth Challenge. Syllabus: https://womenlawyers.org/aba-21-day-grit-and-growth-mindset-challenge/

🙅🏻Visit and peruse the websites for Women Lawyers of MI (wlam.org) and Black Women Lawyers of MI (bwlam.org). Check out the upcoming meetings and events.

🙅🏽Nominate a woman for an award: Crains, Michigan Lawyer Weekly, SBM, ABA, and other professional organizations have numerous awards

🙅🏼‍♀️Write a social media shout out to your female mentors, law school professors/deans, and colleagues

🙅🏿Encourage new parents to take parental leave in your work place

🙅🏼‍♀️Nominate a woman for a leadership role in the legal community

🙅‍♀️Mentor and sponsor women law students and lawyers

🙅🏿Ensure your workplace has an appropriate lactation room and changes tables for staff, clients, and guests

🙅🏾‍♀️Increase the number business and professional opportunities you share with women colleagues

🙅🏼Join a D&I Committee

🙅‍♀️ On Social Media COMMENT on posts that further inclusionnfor women. Comments like “👏🏿 👏🏿👏👏Yes! Agreed!” amplifies the presence more than a push of the button

🙅🏽‍♀️🙅🏻 Make sure meeting and office assignments and tasks do not perpetuate stereotypes. Anyone with a pen and paper or a laptop can take notes!

Yes, March is over but Women and Allies can continue to celebrate and advance women issues in impactful ways all years long! What’s on your to do list?

#womenhistorymonth #womenlawyers #diversityinlaw #inclusion

Women’s History Month Spotlight on Ntozake Shange

Her names is pronounced: EN-toh-ZAH-kee SHAHNG-gay;

She lived October 18, 1948 – October 27, 2018.

Photo credit: https://www.google.com/search?q=shange&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari#imgdii=JIZ3Vo_Cj5hSiM&imgrc=4LZMA3gv2-8OdM

She was a Black feminist author. She was born Paulette Linda Williams in Trenton, New Jersey.

When her family moved St. Louis and she attended a school for gifted children, Shange faced overt racism and harassment at school. These experience would influence her works.

Shange in college succumbed to depression and attempted suicide. A survivor, she reclaimed and renamed herself. In Zulu, Ntozake means “she who comes with her own things” and Shange means “who walks like a lion”.

Shange’s choreopoem “for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf” was the beautiful and soul stirring read for my young curious mind. I was only a kid when I first read and saw the play, but I witnessed it freeing and empowering the Black women in my circle.

“for alla the sorries.
I’m gonna tack a sign to my door
leave a message by the phone
‘if you called
to say your sorry
call somebody
I don’t use em anymore’”—Lady In Red

Black Women did not tolerate excuses or vowed to never set themselves up for hurt— at least in the immediate moments of hearing the Lady in Red.

Shange is credited as a founding poet of the Nuyorican Poets Café. In 2018, that was part of my New York adventure: an uber ride to the lower east side to witness a poetry slam.

I celebrate Shange along with Maya Angelou, Terri MacMillon, and Toni Morrison this Women History Month for their writing that told the diverse stories of Black women.

I love these authors like sweet potato pie!

NY NY 2018
Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe 2018