Blacks United In Leadership & Diversity presents:
2023 Juneteenth Celebration Event
In-Person registration is now at capacity and closed.
Please note that anyone can attend in person to experience our celebration event; however, only those registered are ensured meals. Please check in at the registration table to sign in for attendance.
You can join us virtually, as TVW will be on-site televising the event.
CLICK HERE FOR THE TVW LINK. BUILD cordially invites and welcomes you to join us as we celebrate and recognize the Juneteenth Holiday. Juneteenth is a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It is also called Emancipation Day or Juneteenth Independence Day. The name “Juneteenth” references the date of the holiday, combining the words “June” and “nineteenth.”
More information will follow including names of speakers and details about how to register. For questions, contact co-leads for the event (who happen to be our own Gage Center Employees) Undra Simpson and RaChelle Nelson.
The WA State Blacks United in Leadership and Diversity (BUILD) business resource group exist to improve the experiences of current and future Black State employees, increase the representation of Black people in leadership positions, give voice to the Black perspective in policy discussions about WA communities, and build each other up as we move forward.
Facilitated by: Masozi Nyirenda and Daisha Gomillion
Join us Tuesday, February 28th, from Noon to 1:00 pm for the final Lunch and Learn in our Black History Month Series.
OnRaé LaTeal, aka "The Liberation Music Maker," will be our musical guest artist and speaker. She is an award-winning producer, beat maker, experienced creative arts educator, audio producer, videographer, and dynamic cultural organizer holding a B.A. from Howard University's School of Communications in Radio, Television, and Film with a concentration in audio production.
OnRaé will provide an interactive program with a discussion and a presentation about the "Black Joy Experience and resistance in Black music."
Join us Thursday, February 9th, from Noon to 1:00 pm for the Second Lunch and Learn in our Black History Month Series.
Terrence McCall will lead a Fireside Chat as we BUILD understanding of black identity using what we know about history, as well as the location of black identity in the historical system(s) of reality, in order to grasp the connections that help us better understand the present realities affecting the black community.
Facilitated by: Dr. Shamyka Sutton, Ph.D
Join us Thursday, February 2nd, from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM for the first Lunch and Learn in our Black History Month Series.
Dr. Shamyka Sutton will share insights about Black culinary roots and how the slave trade shaped today’s soul food. Attendees will learn the difference between soul food and southern food and patterns of misattribution in our food culture that dismisses our ancestors' role in culinary arts. Finally, attendees will be encouraged to try new recipes, which will be provided.
Please join BUILD as we support and sponsor the Second Annual Black Lives Matter Day Event, presented by the Black Lives Matter Planning Team. The Black Lives Matter Planning Team comprises state employees of multiple agencies, primarily from the Department of Social and Health Services. This special event will be virtual via Zoom. The calendar invite and program are attached.
Jaelynn Scott - Executive Director, Lavender Rights Project
Melba Ayco - Artistic Director, NW Tap Connection Dance Studio
PeaceQueen Melannie Denise Cunningham - Director of Multicultural Outreach and Engagement, Pacific Lutheran University
Membership Mingle for New Members
If you started attending meetings in the last six months – we want to meet you.
Wednesday, July 27 @ 12-1pm
Welcome to BUILD! Meet other new members and members of the BUILD leadership team.
This mingle is hosted by the BUILD Membership and Engagement Sub-committee.
Membership Mingles are one-hour focused opportunities for Blacks United in Leadership and Diversity (BUILD) members to network, discuss important cultural issues, and build community outside of the monthly BUILD meetings. These are hosted by the BUILD Membership and Engagement Committee.
Register by clicking HERE
New Member Mingle - Wednesday, July 27 @ 12-1pm
Blacks United In Leadership and Diversity invites you to our May General Membership Meeting! We welcome the Black community and our allies.
Join us Thursday, May 19th, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm for our May General Membership Meeting! Attached is the calendar appointment with zoom link, and the agenda will be forthcoming.
Special Guest Speaker: Merritt Long
Please share this information and encourage your colleagues, state-employed family, and friends to attend and get involved! We are a formal, enterprise-wide resource group conducting official state business. Participants are not required to take leave to participate. If you experience any challenges in participating, please let us know.
For more information about BUILD, visit our website BUILDwa.org
If you have any questions, concerns, or feedback, or if you need an accommodation to fully participate in our meetings or events, email us at BUILD@ofm.wa.gov.
Juneteenth is a state holiday!
BUILD's 6/16 event included:
Music, speeches, special guests, food, and more music!
Selected photos from the day...
See a program of the event with a list of activities.
Watch the Juneteenth event promotional video!
Watch WDVA's presentation on the history of Juneteenth!
Just want the QR code to this event page for use in your agency's communications?
Feel free to use the image below...
Check out this year's Juneteenth proclamation!
Juneteenth Celebration and Reflection:
“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.
BUILD offers more graphics you can use to honor the occasion!
A collection of current and past events sponsored by BUILD.