Over the past year, I’ve heard more about Juneteenth in mainstream media than at any point in my life. Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day in 1865 when federal troops finally arrived in Galveston, Texas to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people (over 250,000 in Texas alone) were freed. This date, two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, commemorates the effective end of slavery in the United States. I’m encouraged that this important historical date is now receiving heightened awareness and significant recognition.
This year, Juneteenth also marks a year of intense emotions for me. Last summer, I watched as, in the middle of a global pandemic, this country once again struggled with the deep scars and division caused by America’s unresolved history of racial and social injustice. These struggles played out on the news with repeated heart-wrenching images of police discrimination and violence against the Black community. But in those same moments, I was uplifted by images of a global community that took to the streets to protest these injustices and demand a better and more just society.
As the executive sponsor of the Black Employee Network (BEN) at Adobe since 2017, I’m proud to work with an extraordinary group of leaders and champions for strengthening inclusion and advancing the professional growth of our Black community. I am even more proud of the way in which over this past year, BEN has found a way to channel this outpouring of anger, despair, and even hope into positive energy focused on driving stronger impact across our entire company.