Juneteenth is a day that America commemorates of the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865 when in Galveston, Texas about two months after the Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrendered, ending the Civil War, and over two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation a Union general arrived in Galveston, Texas. The general informed the remaining enslaved African-Americans of their freedom and that the Civil War had ended, and for this reason Juneteenth is celebrated as the true date that all Americans became free.
Juneteenth is a hot topic for Americans this year, as President Joe Biden has officially signed a bill designating Juneteenth as a federal holiday. Many are lauding the legislation as a victory for Black Americans, but there remains an eerie imbalance. In recent years, the nation has struggled, our communities have become divided in a struggle to honor Black American history, in ways that truly elevate our Black community members. While we are all celebrating freedom through Juneteenth’s designation as a federal holiday, it is this type of symbolic victory that highlights a gap that we continue to see in discussions surrounding race in America. This refers to the gap that separates expressing what is moral through words and policy, and supporting what those words with meaningful action.
America is in the midst of a journey towards anti-racism, efforts that will help close the gap by supporting symbolic victories with actions that help create a truly equal and equitable society. Anti-racism journeys are inherently uncomfortable, it forces us to look inward and evaluate ways that we are perpetuating inequality in our own lives and in our communities. Anti-racism work requires consistent and prolonged reflection, there is never a satisfying end to this journey because it should never end. The desire to reach a final destination can make us restless, and in our restlessness the symbolic victories can begin to take precedence over those meaningful actions that truly lead to equal and equitable outcomes.
Terrapin makes an effort to ensure that we remain focused on sustained meaningful action. As a minority-owned cannabis company we know the importance of active work to elevate communities that were most harmed by the drug war. On Juneteenth, we do not want to center ourselves, but we do want to share with our community the standard to which Terrapin holds ourselves to when it comes to creating an equal and equitable organization and community. Below you will find our Terrapin Anti-Racism statement, the lens through which we persistently evaluate how Terrapin operates.
Terrapin aims to foster a culture that honors the diversity of thoughts, ideas, beliefs and experiences. As an anti-racist organization, our mission is to create an environment where all employees, regardless of race or the color of their skin, know they are valued. We acknowledge that racism can be unconscious or unintentional and that identifying racism as an issue does not automatically mean those involved in the act are racist or intend negative impact. The work can be uncomfortable and even painful to some, but we have found that the greatest challenges bear the greatest rewards. Our culture is strengthened and our workplace is more dynamic when we embrace diversity, equity and inclusion.
As an anti-racist organization, we must purposefully identify, discuss and challenge issues of race and color and the impact(s) they have on the organization, its systems, and its people. We will also challenge ourselves to understand and correct any inequities we may discover within Terrapin and gain a better understanding of ourselves during this necessary process. Being an anti-racist organization is a journey and requires humble learning, transparent action, and accountable impact.
We celebrate this Juneteenth, and the equality that all Americans formally received in 1865. We also commit ourselves to ensuring that equality and equity continue to be promoted by Terrapin through our actions.