July/August 2020

In Commemoration of Juneteenth

I recently reaffirmed Chesapeake Utilities’ commitment to a workplace that embraces a culture of diversity, inclusion, and acceptance.

To that end, tomorrow is Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, an annual holiday celebrated on June 19 in commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. The holiday received its name by combining June and 19.

In observance of Juneteenth, all offices  closed at 3 p.m. on Friday, June 19, and all employees  concluded their workday two hours early.

We do this to reflect on the significance of this day while committing to be a part of the positive change.

On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger read federal orders in Galveston, Texas, that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free; although the Emancipation Proclamation had formally freed enslaved people almost two and a half years earlier.

The original celebration has grown in recognition over the years. Today, some celebrations take place among families while some major cities hold parades and other large-scale events.

As we recognize Juneteenth, we understand the importance to continue the dialogue and education around the issues faced by African American communities and the pain and senseless tragedy racial bigotry creates.

Our newly-formed Diversity and Inclusion Steering Task Force was created to accelerate these types of discussions.

We need to be intentional about hiring, retaining, and promoting employees from a variety of backgrounds and creating a diverse and inclusive culture.

As opportunities arise, we support and promote diverse community events that strive for positive change for all communities.

Juneteenth provides us with a time to come together to be part of the solution.

In closing, I’m reminded of the following quote from the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:  “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

I am honored to continue on this journey with you.