“Juneteenth has never been a celebration of victory or an acceptance of the way things are. It’s a celebration of progress. It’s an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible—and there is still so much work to do.”
— Barack Obama
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, serves as a day to reflect on our journey to freedom for Black people in America. As Washington State, along with the rest of the United States of America, seeks to celebrate Juneteenth as an official holiday, our community reflects on our history and the significance of Juneteenth in this country. Many Americans are unaware that enslavement of our people did not once the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It ended two years later in 1865, when more than 2,000 troops arrived in Galveston Bay Texas to enforce the freedom that belonged to black people. The impact of delayed action from a promise that was given and not fulfilled for 2 years is an all too familiar feeling.
Post-emancipation, known as Reconstruction was an era consistently references as a period great hope yet struggle, and uncertainty for Black people in America. As the reality of black people being free started to settle in, we saw racism and oppression show up in a new form. Even though black people were no longer enslaved, they were faced with issues of Black Codes and Jim Crow, known as strict laws on how to treat black people. They were put in place to deprive and strip the fundamental rights and economic growth for the Black community. In addition to the corrupt laws in place, Black people were victims of horrendous acts by white supremacy believers, whose sole purpose was to terrorize the newly freed Black people anybody or entity that supported them.
America has made progress, where the Black people are concerned but we as whole still suffer from the evil that America was built upon. It is systemic and must be purged.
Juneteenth is not just a moment in American history, where we only celebrate the freedom for black people. It serves as a reminder of resilience and the determination that black people continuously show. We’ve overcome, we’ve endured, we do not break. However, we deserve rest, comfort, and peace. This is a moment in history, that highlights the long journey we have traveled. A moment in history, where our community can revive their hope and strength to build a better future for not only ourselves, but those that come after. So, let us not just a celebrate on Juneteenth, let us be inspired to act and commit to the effort of establishing a world where equality and inclusion does exist.
Check out photos, live streams, and news links from Washington State Juneteenth event held on June 16th, 2022.
Washington State Juneteenth Celebration Photos - BUILD, Washington State Juneteenth Celebration Livestream- TVW BUILD Facebook Livestream KING 5 News
Photos taken by Gary Lott
In 2016, Governor Inslee established Directive 16-11, which created the Rainbow Alliance and Inclusion Network (RAIN), a business resource group. RAIN exists to help Washington State create safe and inclusive workplaces where every LGBTQ+ employee can bring their full authentic self to work, enabling them to do their best work every day for the people of Washington.
Attached [below] is the ceremonial declaration for all to see.
For more information on Juneteenth, read the article "History of Juneteenth" or "12 Things.. about Juneteenth" on BUILD's website.
Juneteenth Proclamation PDF
Compiled by Shauna James, Washington State Health Care Authority.
What is Juneteenth?
“Juneteenth” (June Nineteenth) commemorates freedom for African Americans, and reminds us of the promises of freedom, equity, and equitable opportunity which are at the core of the American Dream.
The historical legacy of Juneteenth is a good mirror of how freedom and justice in our nation has always been “delayed” for Black people.
For decades waves of lynching, imprisonment, and Jim Crow laws took root. This resulted in a disproportionate impact of discriminatory policies, disparities, and a lack of economic opportunity and investment.
While some progress has been made, considerable barriers still exist towards fuller equity. Thus, the importance of the recognition and observance of Juneteenth to demonstrate our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging
The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth (June Nineteenth)
1502: The first known Transatlantic Slave Trade voyage - At least 10 million Black people were forcibly transported from Africa and sold into slavery.
January 1, 1863: President Abraham Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, but some Confederate states refused to enforce this law.
June 19, 1865: General Gordon Granger arrives in Galveston, Texas and announces that more than 250,000 enslaved black people were free through the Emancipation Proclamation).
December 1865: The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is passed, freeing all enslaved people & abolishing slavery in the U.S.
June 7, 1979: Representative Al Edwards introduces a bill declaring “Juneteenth” a state holiday - Texas was the first state to recognize the observance.
June 17, 2021: President Joe Biden establishes Juneteenth, the date commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S, as a federal holiday.
Key points of Governor Inslee’s Juneteenth Proclamation
In his all-state communication, Governor Jay Inslee said recent events caused him to examine how persistent racism continues to impact people of color in the State of Washington, but worldwide.
The proclamation is aimed at recognizing contributions of African Americans to our state and country and as a chance to reflect on progress till to be made to endure equal access and opportunity and for self-improvement and planning for a more equitable future.
Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom, acknowledges the resilience and determination that African Americans have shown.
Since its origin in 1865 in Galveston, Texas the observance of June 19 (Juneteenth) as the African-American Emancipation Day has spread across the US and worldwide.
In his communication about the proclamation, he made a commitment to making Washington a more inclusive state and our workplace an environment where every employee is encouraged to bring their true and authentic selves to work.
The proclamation makes Juneteenth a legal holiday. He urged ALL citizens to learn about the celebration and its significance in American History and the heritage of our nation.
The Juneteenth Flag
On June 19th you might start seeing another red, white, and blue flag flying over our state.
That banner with a star bursting in the middle is the Juneteenth Flag, a symbol of the end of slavery in the United States.
The flag was created in 1997 by Ben Haith, founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation (NJCF).
According to Haith the design was a deliberate process. Here’s what each element of the flag represents:
Save the afternoon of Sunday, June 5, 2:30 to 5 p.m. on your calendars for a hybrid, statewide event on Black well-being! We are inviting Black folks across Washington to gather safely, tune in, and turn up. Be part of building our collective vision for statewide Black well-being, crafted by us and for us.
Add to CalendarRegister to join in person or host a virtual watch party and be entered into a drawing for a $25 DoorDash gift credit!
CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS
The 2022 Statewide DEI Summit Planning Committee needs your help to host a successful event. We know that many employees across the state are passionate about the summit and would like to contribute. We specifically need your help in moderating DEI Summit sessions. As a moderator, you will play an important role in ensuring that the conference is a success by attending various sessions, and helping the presenters and participants have a great experience.
June 3-5, BURIEN PRIDE WEEKEND 3RD-5TH
June 4, OLYMPIA PRIDE
June 4, NEWPORT PRIDE
June 4, ARLINGTON PRIDE
June 4, PASCO (TRI-CITIES)
June 4, WHATCOM PRIDE
June 11, Spokane Pride
June 12, MONROE PRIDE
June 17, KIRKLAND PRIDE
June 18, YAKIMA PRIDE
June 18, WENATCHEE PRIDE
June 18, PORTLAND PRIDE (18th – 19th)
June 18, ANACORTES PRIDE
June 20-26, Seattle Pride (20th thru 26th)
June 25, PORT TOWNSEND
July 9-10, VANCOUVER PRIDE (9TH AND 10TH)
July 9, TACOMA PRIDE
July 17, BAINBRIDGE PRIDE
July 23, KITSAP PRIDE
"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children." — Nelson Mandela
BUILD and its community send our deepest condolences and prayers to the families impacted by the horrific tragedy that took place in Texas at Rob Elementary School on May 24th, 2022. The loss of 19 beautiful children and two teachers due to gun violence is a devastating blow for the Uvalde community and our country. The mass school shooting that happened in Texas marks the 27th school shooting to have taken place in the United States so far, based on reports. The grief that families are experiencing right now is truly heartbreaking. Every parent should be at ease when they drop their child off at school, knowing they will get the support they need and return home unharmed.
“On May 25, Minneapolis police officers arrested George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, after a convenience store employee called 911 and told the police that Mr. Floyd had bought cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. Seventeen minutes after the first squad car arrived at the scene, Mr. Floyd was unconscious and pinned beneath three police officers, showing no signs of life.” – New York Times.
Today we reflect on the criminal actions conducted by law enforcement that caused the passing of George Floyd. The excerpt taken from the report highlights the sad, brutal, and all too familiar feeling of black lives being taken in this country. Let us remember that the George Floyd tragedy is not a singular moment in American history, but his death does represent the continuous brazen actions that have led to so many Black lives being taken. Unjust actions that were taken based on the color of their skin.
Running for Co-Chair: Nolan Washington
Trooper / Recruiter / Community Liaison
I am Nolan Washington, from Seattle, WA. I grew up in the south end part of Seattle. I went to Kennedy High School and then went on to Washington State University where I also played football and graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice in 2013. I was not expecting to actually be involved in law enforcement, but after seeing many of the things going on with our community and policing, I decided to take matters into my own hands and go into the law enforcement profession; embarking on this journey to bring about change from within.
I became a Trooper with Washington State Patrol in 2016, and now also serve as one of the field Recruiters and a Community Liaison for the agency. My job includes recruiting for more State Troopers, as well as other positions within our agency, and also be involved with community events around the state. My areas of recruiting are Pierce, King, Snohomish, and Whatcom counties and I assist with other counties around the state as well.
I got into this profession to be a door holder for all under-represented people within the profession and specifically my black brothers and sisters to be able to see themselves in me, and want to join and bring about true change. I look for platforms to challenge, educate, and inspire people to not only talk about changes they would like to see, but BE ABOUT IT! I am a firm believer in not waiting for anyone else for change but to do my part in bringing about the change I would like to see. My motto is to inspire the next.
In everything we do, we all can be an inspiration to others. We all have a story, and specifically as black people we know this journey has not been easy for us, but if we can try and remember that whatever we do in life, the real mission is to pave a way for the ones that will come after us. To truly bring about change and make sure that change is continued, means we are inspiring the next. The next generation, the next police officer, the next teacher, the next CEO, whatever! We are looking to leave a legacy that can be carried on for generations to come. I look forward to continue to gather inspiration from the amazing people I have and will meet through BUILD, and hope to challenge and inspire others to join me along the way.
Running for Executive Assistant: Yeni Castaneto
As the incumbent Executive Assistant, I will continue to support the BUILD Leadership team with the critical mission of lifting Black voices and representation in leadership positions. I am committed to diversity and inclusion and fighting to change policies that systematically and structurally exclude BIPOC.
In the past year, BUILD has shown me that a collective few have the power to begin change by providing a platform and space for Black voices. I assisted Tyrone in launching our Intersectionality Listening Sessions, which provided a safe space for our members to speak on their lived experiences, truths, and realities. It has been a learning and humbling experience to be a part of BUILD, and I hope to do it another year.
The Juneteenth Royal Ball: Reclaiming Community in Washington state in a movement of celebration, inspiration and elevation in excellence!
This is the Inaugural year that the state of Washington recognizes Juneteenth as a legal state paid holiday on Monday, June 20, 2022. As Black Folks and allies, we have been celebrating Juneteenth for years. This government recognition is cause for a bigger celebration. Black-Owned Business Excellence (BOBE) in partnership with The Professional Women of Color Network and many other collaborators are cultivating this recognition with a Royal Ball that reclaims Community here in Washington.
Annual Community Pillar Awards Dinner
Honoring those who have impacted and uplifted the Spokane African American Community*Tickets $25 per person or $185 per table (seats 8)
Tickets sales will begin on 5/23/2022.
Hello RAIN Community,
Please see the below message from our friends at the Blacks United in Leadership and Diversity (BUILD) BRG. RAIN’s leadership joins with BUILD in expressing our love and support for all of those affected and suffering due to the tragedy in Buffalo, NY over the weekend. We specifically hold members of the LGBTQ+ community, who have faced discrimination and abuse, in our thoughts and encourage our community to seek ways to uplift and support those and other marginalized voices in this conflict.
Taja Blackhorn, Co-Chair
Ryan Douglas, Co-Chair
Rainbow Alliance and Inclusion Network (RAIN)
Original message from RAIN
A message from Blacks United In Leadership and Diversity (BUILD):
With a heavy heart, we are forced to reconcile, yet again, that there is still much work to do in America when it comes to racism, hate, and supremacy-mindedness. The tragedy of Buffalo, NY is senseless and disheartening. We at BUILD, stand with the families affected and mourn the lives lost.
We encourage you all to be vigilant about your safety, hold those you love a little tighter, and keep making space for change and justice for our people.
For more information on this tragedy, we invite you to visit the Anti-Defamation League blog.
We also invite you, as state workers, to use the Washington State Employee Assistance Program.
The Washington State DEI Summit is June 7, 14, 21, and 28. This event is virtual.
This year's theme this:
Acknowledging Our Past, Transforming Our Future
Washington State 2022 DEI Summit: Tuesdays in June: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Registration for the upcoming, annual Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Summit is currently available. This year’s virtual DEI Summit registration is free and open to all state agency employees. We encourage you to join us in this meaningful development opportunity, which was carefully planned to enrich our collective understanding and awareness through a wealth of DEI- related discussions and activities.
Registration and summit details:
Interviews about the Summit moderated by BUILD's very own, Sharon Armstrong!
Check out more interviews!
Juneteenth is a state holiday!
Watch this space for more info as it becomes available.
This event also serves as BUILD's June General Membership Meeting.
Meet Candacy Taylor, the nation’s leading Green Book scholar and author, at the Washington State History Museum
Tacoma, WA – Cultural documentarian, author and photographer Candacy Taylor is the number one person you’d want to ask about the Green Book. She crisscrossed tens of thousands of miles in the United States to research and write The Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America. The 2020 book became the basis for The Negro Motorist Green Book exhibition, created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and co-curated by Taylor. The exhibition is on view at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma through June 12. The Black Heritage Society of Washington State has partnered with the History Museum and invites the community to meet Candacy Taylor at a free author talk and book signing on Thursday, May 19 at 6:00 PM.
May 5: National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit People
May 5 is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit People. To learn more on how you can take action, you are invited to visit:
Tai Simpson’s essay in Cosmopolitan on the MMIW Crisis
Morning Star Gali’s podcast interview with Alicia Garza on Indigenous resistance.
From the City of Olympia to BUILD:
The City has launched a community-led process to ensure our public safety system works for everyone. This process is being led by a Community Work Group who is hosting a series of Listening-and-Learning Sessions during April and May.
We invite you BUILD and members of your community to join us on the evening of April 28, 2022, between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. PST for an in-person conversation on:
The City of Olympia is dedicated to deeper exploration of racism, and specifically anti-Black racism. Marginalized communities such as people with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ community and specifically people who are transgender or non-binary, immigrants, people in poverty, and many others also have important concerns.
Together, we’re committed to a better understanding of these to ensure that everyone in our community feels that the public safety system works for them. To do that, we need to hear from People of Color community members. The listening-and-learning sessions are brave spaces for honest sharing and conversation about what’s important to you, your experiences, and your ideas for reimagining public safety for our community.
Together, we’re committed to ensuring that everyone in our community feels that the public safety system works for them. To do that, we need to hear from you. The listening-and-learning sessions are brave spaces for honest sharing and conversation about what’s important to you, your experiences, and your ideas for reimagining public safety for our community.
While recognizing that many far-reaching societal factors (education, housing access, racism, etc.) can influence public safety, this process takes a closer look at specifically the City’s public safety system, which includes areas like policing, crisis response, corrections, prosecution, defense, courts, and medical and fire response.
This effort is being led by a Community Work Group made up of nine community members who represent a cross-section of Olympia’s demographics, expertise, and experiences. The members are dedicated to listening carefully to community members, with an emphasis on voices of people that have often been excluded from decision-making. Using what they learn, they will work together to prepare recommendations for the Olympia City Council that represent the needs of our community.
The work group’s intention is to provide a facilitated opportunity for safe, intimate discussion. However, please share this invitation with specific members of your community who you feel would be an asset to this important conversation.
To learn more about this process, including how to register for the listening-and-learning session, and view helpful pre-discussion materials, visit engage.olympiawa.gov/publicsafety.
Fellow BUILD members,
It is time for new leadership to continue expanding on what we've built, bringing new ideas and a fresh perspective to lead BUILD forward in 2022-2023!
Serving on our Executive Leadership Team is considered part of your regular duties. Leave is never required; you just need your supervisor’s approval to spend some of your work time doing this important and meaningful work.
Talk with your supervisor about your capacity to serve!
There are two positions available: Co-Chair and Executive Assistant - each position description is attached. These are professional development opportunities leading a statewide program. No specific experience is required - just a few key competencies and a passion for equity, diversity, and inclusion are all we need. Note, candidates must be public service employees with the state or at a state higher education institution.
These are truly unique opportunities to expand your network, grow personally and professionally, serve your fellow state employees and the Black community, and inspire, influence, and impact the direction of EDI work in Washington State.
Put that on your resume!
Nominations are open now through April 30, 2022. Any BUILD member can nominate or be nominated. In May, our current leadership will meet with all nominees to discuss the opportunity.
No one will be announced as a candidate without their consent.
We will present leadership roles and more information at our April General Membership Meeting. Be sure to save the date, Thursday, April 21st, from 9 am to noon.
Are you interested? Nominate yourself!
Do you know someone who might be interested? Nominate them!
Do you know someone who would benefit from this opportunity? Nominate them!
Do you know a great leader who would benefit BUILD? Nominate them!
Please email nominee names to BUILD at BUILD@ofm.wa.gov
Below and attached is more information about these positions and the key competencies needed. You can also find this information and more on our website here.
BUILD is an all-volunteer organization of state employees, led by state employees for state employees. Our current Executive Leadership Team has led BUILD from inception in June 2019 to where we are today.
We are one of six Business Resource Groups (BRGs) sponsored by the Office of Financial Management (OFM) and sanctioned to operate as official state business by our Governor.
There is no specific time required to serve, but you can expect to spend 4 to 8 hours per week connecting, communicating, organizing, planning, presenting, etc.
BUILD's foundation is solid, we have processes in place, and we have a strong team of subcommittee leaders committed to our mission, vision, and values.
Our current leadership will ensure a smooth transition and is committed to providing all the training and support our new leaders need to be successful.
No one will be announced as a candidate without their consent, so nominate today!
Email nominee names to BUILD at BUILD@ofm.wa.gov
Proposed rules filed: public comment period now open
Approved proposed rulemaking (CR 102) regarding amendments to existing rules and a new rule section that would establish the Social Equity in Cannabis Program in response to recommendations of the Social Equity in Cannabis Task Force, and other statutory requirements. The proposal creates a regulatory framework for the distribution of licenses that are currently available from cannabis retailer licenses that have been subject to forfeiture, revocation or cancellation by the Board, or cannabis retailer licenses that were not previously issued by the Board, but could have been issued without exceeding the limit on the statewide number of cannabis retailer licenses established by the Board before January 1, 2020.
The Disability Inclusion Network is NOW accepting nominations for the Respect, Acceptance, and Dignity for Persons with Disabilities (RADD) Award.
Do you know a state agency/division/higher education that has made significant changes in Disability Inclusion, awareness, and acceptance?
Is there someone you know who has made an outstanding contribution by being a strong advocate to Disability justice, inclusion, accessibility, and acceptance, by going above and beyond?
If YES, DIN needs YOU to nominate your team, person, higher education, and agency/division!
Submit your nomination by COB May 16, 2022.
Award Ceremony will be held on July 27th, 2022, from 12:00pm-1:00pm and will be virtual.
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