Boston community leaders to take part in special ‘Juneteenth’ Symposium to discuss the role of education in the ongoing history of the African American community

BOSTON, MA (June 12, 2013) – City Year, an education-focused nonprofit that unites diverse teams of young people for a year of service in high-need schools, will host a first-time ‘Juneteenth’ Symposium on Wednesday, June 19th  from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM at City Year Headquarters. The event will bring together Boston-based scholars, educators, and community activists for an interactive panel discussion on the historic significance of the Emancipation Proclamation, the role of education in the advancement of the African American community, and the ongoing educational challenges that disproportionately impact African Americans and other people of color.

The event recognizes ‘Juneteenth’ (also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day) the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. While President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863, news did not reach Texas until June 19, 1865 that the war had ended and the enslaved were finally free. For decades the date has been celebrated in Texas and Louisiana and spread to other states as migrating African Americans fanned out from Texas.  Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in 42 of the United States, including Massachusetts.

“Juneteenth reminds the nation of how black Americans embraced the huge promise embodied in the Emancipation Proclamation,” said Hubie Jones, City Year Social Justice Entrepreneur in Residence. “One hundred fifty years later, we need to learn from the efforts to obtain social justice in this country. The Proclamation speaks to today's challenge to heal divisions and make this country whole.”

The Juneteenth panel discussion at City Year headquarters will be moderated by Hubie Jones of City Year and will feature guest speakers from prominent Boston community organizations including, New Profit Inc., Breakthrough Greater Boston, and Project Hip-Hop.

Juneteenth takes place weeks before the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. These historic moments are part of an important narrative of the struggle of African Americans and other people of color to gain dignity, equity, and recognition as full human beings in American society. This struggle is aligned with City Year’s values of social justice for all, inclusivity, and Ubuntu-- a South African proverb which means ‘my humanity is tied to yours.’

The event is free and open to the Greater Boston community.                            

WHAT:          150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and Juneteenth Symposium

WHEN:          Wednesday, June 19th from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM

WHERE:       City Year Headquarters, 287 Columbus Ave, Boston MA, 02116                

WHO:           Tulaine Montgomery, Partner at New Profit Inc. 

John Barros, Former Executive Director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative and former member of the Boston School Committee  

Elissa Spelman, Executive Director of Breakthrough Greater Boston  

Mariama White-Hammond, Executive Director of Project Hip-Hop (Boston) 

Hubie Jones (moderator), City Year Social Justice Entrepreneur in Residence, Charter Trustee, and Senior Advisor 

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About City Year: City Year is an education-focused, nonprofit organization founded in 1988 that partners with public schools to provide full-time targeted intervention for students most at risk of dropping out.  In more than 20 communities across the United States and through two international affiliates, our teams of young AmeriCorps leaders support students by focusing on attendance, behavior, and course performance through in-class tutoring, mentoring, and after school programs that keep kids in school and on track to graduate.