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  • Writer's pictureTabitha Montgomery

Juneteenth | Leadership Reflection


Juneteenth, Happy Freedom Day, Happy Emancipation Day, Happy Jubilee Day, Happy Black Independence Day! 

Today marks a celebration with many names and a layered history. On June 19, 1985, a general order by Major General Gordon Granger declared to the folks of Texas that all slaves were free given an executive proclamation by President Lincoln. It is estimated that this declaration began to become news to nearly 250,000 people still enslaved in, and around, Galveston, Texas. And this news came more than two years after the President’s Emancipation Proclamation. 

These facts about Juneteenth may not be new to many. But I find that they issue both a caution and mandate when it comes to what is needed for essential policies, ordinances, laws, and proclamations to reach and serve those intended. 

The Caution
A good thing can’t be a good thing if it is unknown or inaccessible to the people it intends to serve.

As an organization striving to support community well-being in areas like housing equity, environmental justice, and holistic forms of safety, PPNA is often sobered by the disconnect between intent and impact. 

We have been encouraged by things like the City’s Affordable Housing Building Sale Ordinance, often referred to as Advance Notice of Sale. The ordinance seeks to provide renters within an eligible multi-family rental housing building with at least 60 days’ notice before the building goes up for sale. If followed, this ordinance serves as a renter protection in providing some of the necessary time for families to identify alternative affordable housing options. 

Unfortunately, PPNA has been engaged on several occasions by renters in our community who were unaware that their affordable housing building was being sold. We have engaged with property owners of affordable multi-family rental housing who were unaware of the Advance Notice of Sale Ordinance. In each case, a good thing was rendered inaccessible and ineffective in part because adherence to a key mandate was missed. 

The Mandate
In the furtherance of the communities we want, the isms we desire to eradicate, and the people we desire to free; these desires can only be met with the necessary resources. 

In the case of Advance Notice of Sale, the association was unable to ascertain from City records and representatives the total investment being made in ensuring the ordinance is shared with and understood by renters and property owners throughout the City. PPNA believes the lack of understanding of the Advance Notice of Sale is a direct reflection of inadequate resources being applied to support its intent. 

Considering the variety and vast needs in our community, it is often with a sobering reflection that we determine that the central and dominant desires for well-being are not met because the mandate to resource our needs and aspirations has not been adopted beyond the words found in policies, ordinances, laws, and proclamations. 

As we consider a caution and mandate learned from Juneteenth, it feels appropriate to apply a new name to this holiday. Happy More Freedom Day! 

Although we can cherish the freedoms that presently have been advanced for Black folks, we also acknowledge that the ongoing work to be free of restraints that help maintain racial inequity requires us to embrace the duality that Juneteenth represents. Progress has been made, and more progress remains.

The freedoms that will benefit us all have never been singular in how often they need to be declared, nor singular in the number of proclamations that need to be proclaimed, nor singular in the number of people who need to act in alignment with any proclamation that seeks to advance any manner of freedom.

More Freedom for All, 

Tabitha Montgomery 
PPNA | Executive Director

Editor: Ren Koo


1 comentario

han gu
han gu
15 jul

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