Blog

Remembering Juneteenth and the Fight for Environmental Justice

}

Jun 19, 2022

Written by Andrea Smith

What is Juneteenth?

On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, and announced the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery. It is on this day every year since that we celebrate “Juneteenth” as the end of slavery in the United States. It is a day that we celebrate ancestors and leaders who fought to be liberated. We celebrate their power, resiliency, and tenacity. 

Many Americans have fought and continue to fight for equal rights as the plague of discrimination continues to overtake our country and their day of celebration is no different. While Juneteenth was celebrated as early as 1866, it wasn’t until 2021 that Congress passed the bill to officially declare the day a federal holiday in the United States. Originally, the holiday was celebrated through prayer meetings and spiritual songs. Local gatherings would take place where everyone would wear new, bright clothing to celebrate their freedom and mark the independence of something new. Today, Juneteenth is celebrated across the nation through street fairs, parades, and even concerts. 

https cdn.cnn .com cnnnext dam assets 200619154049 04 juneteenth 2020 washington


Juneteenth and Environmental Justice

We celebrate Juneteenth as the shift from fighting for freedom of slavery to fighting for freedom for all Black people. The ties between racial and environmental discrimination have always been connected and continue to demand change for environmental justice. We all see the effects of climate change in our own way, but the climate crisis is a toxic situation that continues to plague the Black community. Many Black neighborhoods continue to report the placement of hazardous waste sites and pollution in their own backyard leading to detrimental health problems. Black families continue to face challenges in lack of resources and proximity to harmful facilities. 

All Americans have the right to their own freedom and their connection to our planet. Mother Nature knows no bounds, and is to be enjoyed by all who put two feet on the ground to make it a better place. This Juneteenth, we celebrate and recognize those who came before us to fight for our right to live and we use this opportunity to motivate future generations to continue the battle. There is always work to be done and there is still change to be made. To all of those who celebrate and observe, TGP wishes you a Happy Juneteenth and encourages you to take action in your own community to leverage this history in your fight for climate justice. Please refer to additional resources regarding climate justice here.


TGP celebrates diversity and is an equal opportunity organization. We are strongly committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace and seek stories from members of underrepresented groups, as well as those who share this commitment. For collaboration, please reach out to our team at [email protected].

Read Another Article

An International Graduate Student Embraces Nepali Culture by Studying Abroad through Shine On Scholarship

On one hand, I believe that every student should be given a chance to study abroad at least once in their life, because it teaches us things that textbooks cannot: adaptability, resilience, curiosity, empathy, just to name a few. Whether good or bad, bursting our bubble and learning about our world will inspire us and open our minds. On the other hand, the people we interact with benefit from the diversity, because all of us bring unique perspectives to the table. Perhaps we share an idea that no one has thought of but could be key to solving a problem; we fuel the aspirations of someone who is facing similar difficulties; or help take down stereotypes.  

read more

LGBTQ+ Leaders and Organizations in Sustainability to Know About this Pride Month

The GREEN Program loves to celebrate love, and there is no better way to do that this month than by recognizing a few LGBTQ+ leaders and organizations that are making a difference not just in their own communities but for our planet altogether. Read below to learn more about some people and spaces that are working together to promote a better world that focuses on inclusion and equality.

read more

Meet 8 AAPI Leaders in Sustainability: Across the Globe and At Home

The month of May is known to many as the end of classes and the start of Summer, but May is also known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Our team at TGP wanted to take a moment to recognize the contributions and influence of AAPI Americans throughout history, culture, and achievements both on a global scale, and from those who are a bit close to home. We also encourage you to learn more about AAPI Heritage Month and get involved through additional resources.

read more

From a Start Up to a Sustainability Study Abroad Program: How Patrick Applied his Passion for Renewable Energy in Iceland

When Fall 2021 rolled around and I saw the TGP scholarship opportunity, I thought I’d apply not expecting much. When I found out that I actually got it, I was like “I guess I’m actually doing this!”. I was a little nervous and anxious but also so excited for the opportunity! I was also grateful that the enrollment process was very smooth for me with no significant challenges along the way.

read more

Boston University Student Gains a Unique Perspective for Renewable Energy & Sustainability by Studying Abroad in Iceland

Global experiences have definitely shaped me into the person I am today through increased cultural awareness and sensitivity. Getting to really know a great group of diverse individuals from all over the world has not only shaped my perspective on current world issues, but has also allowed me to take a glance at certain topics from another angle and point of view.

read more

A Construction Science Major Turns Lessons into Opportunity after a Sustainability Study Abroad Program 

AJ Ewing spent his past Winter Break a little bit differently than most students, by studying abroad on our GREEN Nepal program. As a Construction Science major, AJ notes that he was nervous coming into the study abroad program having no prior experience in sustainability or electrical/solar grids, but he was excited and eager to learn. As soon as he arrived, all his nerves were gone as he was welcomed by our team and ready to dive in. Now, he can honestly say that when he thinks of The GREEN Program, he thinks of “family away from home.”

read more

How a Geologist Made His Sustainability Dream in Iceland a Reality through a Study Abroad Scholarship

As someone who is in a field with a limited representation of ethnic minorities, TGP created a neutral ground where there was a range of diversity on different levels. My GREEN Program experience in Iceland wasn’t just about the adventures and cultural immersion, but about the education too. I thoroughly enjoyed the lectures because I saw how passionate the different lecturers were about their work and research which is truly inspiring. As a geologist, learning more about the wonder that is Iceland in Iceland was definitely a dream come true.

read more

Get to Know GREENie: Maryam Aida Tidjani

Maryam Aida Tidjani got to experience a brand new kind of GREEN Program during the hard times the world was facing, a 100% Virtual and Online experience. Initially planning on traveling to Peru in 2021, the global pandemic continued to shift things around and we had to pivot all travel programs to Online experiences.

read more

Environmental Engineering Graduate Paves the Way for Women in STEM through a Renewable Energy & Sustainability Program in Iceland

I loved learning about the geothermal resources in Iceland and how they were used to both create electricity and heat homes. The way the country has harnessed their resources and used them in their everyday lives is so inspirational to me. I hope that the world will learn from Iceland and look for ways to be more sustainable.

read more

Subscribe to The GREEN Program newsletter & updates

Loading...
Skip to content