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In celebration of Juneteenth

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865: the day that Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, and told slaves of their emancipation. “In accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free,” Granger read to a crowd. That day came more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.

Today at CT3, we will virtually fellowship as a team to celebrate Juneteenth. Our goal is to engage in learning, collaboration, and action to commemorate this American holiday. We will then take the balance of the day to celebrate the holiday with our families and work to support anti-racist work in our communities. This is a modest way to acknowledge the oldest celebration that truly memorializes the end of slavery in our country. This day also launches larger work for us moving forward.

As leaders, Juneteenth feels like a crucial time to reflect on ourselves and our organizational structures and purpose at CT3.

  • How will we interrogate our internal practices to tackle as many of the white supremacist (historical centering of white culture) values we embody? How can our team reorganize to reflect the experiences our diverse team deserves and do the urgent work our students and teachers need to be successful?
  • How will we commit as an organization to support our partners moving conversations from equity to anti-racism? How will we do the same internally? How do our interactions with partners and the larger education community need to change?
  • While supporting scholars, teachers, and educational leaders is activist work in its own right, how will we further impact the communities we serve?

 

The questions are complex and we wanted to share with our community what we are working on and committing to in hopes you too will find time in your busy schedules to take time to reflect.

Our organization

CT3 is a diverse organization. This is intentional; however, we can always do better!

  • We commit to embody hiring practices that ensure our team mirrors the organizations we support and the students we aim to inspire and impact. Currently our team is comprised of:
    • Company: 48% Black; 60% people of color; 65% women
    • Leadership: 55% Black; 55% people of color; 55% women
    • Program: 52% Black; 65% people of color; 65% women
    • Operations: 28% Black; 57% people of color; 57% women

 

* In this data we separate Black people from people of color because (1) we recognize that most Black folks were brought to this country, not by choice but by enslavement, while many folks of color (other minorities) have chosen this country as their home (2) this is a time in our history where we need to highlight the voices and impact of Black folks on our team (3) the composition of our team is an intention strategy to support our breaking down of white supremacist values at CT3.

  • We commit to engage in truthful conversations with our team so everyone feels they have a voice and find pride in how we operate – both as an organization and as a critical part of a larger educational movement.

 

Moving from equity to anti-racism

The work of cultural competency, equity, and anti-racism is a journey and we recognize the spaces between these terms is where much of the work on the journey lives. There is no destination. Austin Channing Brown notes, “The work of anti-racism is becoming a better human to other humans.” Along our journey, we commit to a few things:

  • We commit to interrogate our protocols and practices so we can improve them to better support our team and the coaches and leaders with whom we work. We must have the courage to have conversations so we can all become better humans. This means supporting difficult conversations, listening to learn instead of listening to be right, and creating safe spaces so folks can learn to become anti-racist in their practice as educators and as humans.
  • We commit to self-interrogation and pushing ourselves and our partners to hold the line against the ways that the battle against racism depletes our energy and causes despair. We want to model with and for our team members and partners the importance of self-care in this struggle; as Audre Lorde reminds us, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
  • We commit to working closely with our partners to replace the policies and procedures that demonstrate unfair advantage for privileged groups.
  • We commit to pushing our partners to overhaul practices that don’t magnify the tremendous potential and tremendous energy that Baldwin told us each Black child represents, as we seek to find that energy in every student, every day.
  • We commit to communicating our approach, our stance, and our commitments to our partners in advance so that from the outset of each partnership, we work in aligned movement towards shared goals of anti-racism. We know there is no neutral ground.

 

Supporting the larger communities where we work

Our work in supporting educators is not finite. It is a never-ending action research project. However, education is only one component of the asset-rich communities we serve and we recognize we are called to do more, so that we and the communities we serve can be more. We will engage our broader team to develop plans against new commitments to work in our communities in the following ways:

  • We have committed to a partnership with When We All Vote, a non-profit, non-partisan organization with a mission to increase participation in every election to close the race and age voting gaps. Our team can choose to volunteer in a myriad of ways, which CT3 can support financially and with additional PTO, e.g., participation in phone banks, canvassing neighborhoods, volunteering at local political field offices, etc. Closing the voting gap will provide us with decision makers who will support ALL voices in our country.
  • We commit to being intentional about where we spend our dollars, with significant effort to supporting Black and minority owned businesses.
  • We commit to using our internal resources to mentor and support startups led by Black educational entrepreneurs.
  • We commit to working with our partners to turn historical discounts into future investments in their communities. This will help us direct resources beyond schools in support of schools.

 

At CT3, Juneteenth can’t be just about one day. We are using this day to slow down, reflect on ourselves and our shared histories, and commit to support real change – internally and externally – in the anti-racist movement that is well overdue in our country.

In solidarity,

Kristyn Klei Borrero, CEO
Nataki Gregory, CPO
Marcus Blanks, COO

 


 

In support of your learning and knowledge about Juneteenth, below are links to some readings about the history of this American holiday, how it was (and is) celebrated, and what might be happening in your own community to recognize and celebrate it.

About Juneteenth

From the Juneteenth Worldwide Celebration website:
https://www.juneteenth.com

From the National Museum of African-American History and Culture:
https://nmaahc.si.edu/blog-post/celebrating-juneteenth

From the Zinn Education Project: Teaching People’s History:
https://www.zinnedproject.org/news/tdih/juneteenth-emancipation-day/

From “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross,” presented by Henry Louis Gates and PBS:
https://www.pbs.org/wnet/african-americans-many-rivers-to-cross/history/what-is-juneteenth/

From The History Channel:
https://www.history.com/news/what-is-juneteenth

Related to Juneteenth (Texas Freedom Colonies):
https://www.zinnedproject.org/materials/texas-freedom-colonies-project/

Celebrating Juneteenth

A search on your city for Juneteenth celebrations is a good starting point:
https://www.juneteenth.com/howtocelebrate.htm

Recipes from African-American chefs:
https://cooking.nytimes.com/68861692-nyt-cooking/24232457-juneteenth-recipes-curated-by-nicole-taylor

Celebrations to be updated on the website this week:
https://www.juneteenth.com/worldwide.htm

 

CT3 transforms the quality and culture of education for youth, especially those in traditionally disenfranchised communities.

2 Comments
  • Kelly
    Posted at 07:40h, 29 June Reply

    “We commit to embody hiring practices that ensure our team mirrors the organizations we support and the students we aim to inspire and impact.” – How will the company specifically tackle the retention of Black employees and employees of color?

    • CT3 Web Admin
      Posted at 13:13h, 30 June Reply

      That’s a great question, Kelly. As you can imagine the nature of our work can be emotionally draining, and especially so, given how invested in the work our team members are. Each member of our team has been drawn to our mission at CT3. We will continue to innovate and evolve our practice to fulfill that mission while providing safe spaces for our team members to be heard and celebrated for the pushes and challenges to the leaders we support. It is important that we are intentional about those safe spaces so that we can honor and support the needs of our team members. These Juneteenth commitments are a part of that process and are intentionally ambitious as our work will never be completed.

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