Blog

Perspectives – Juneteenth 2021: A Time to Remember, A Time for More Progress

By Children Rising
June 17, 2021

Perspectives by Margena Wade-Green, Program Director Path2Math and CareerBridge

Throughout my life, my family celebrated Independence Day on June 19th — Juneteenth as it came to be known. For so many of my forefathers, it was June 19, 1865 when they were granted their freedom. It was the day that Union soldiers read the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston, TX, announcing to the state that some 250,000 Black slaves were free by executive order, two and a half years after the fact.

Since then and still today, white privilege has been the passport to first-hand information and services. The two-and-a-half-year wait to emancipate Black slaves in Texas set a precedent that so many Black folks still experience. As a Black woman, these issues are sensitive to me, and unfortunately, most people don’t appreciate the depth of that pain.

There’s more awareness of Juneteenth these days than ever before. In my high school days, I could only find two lines and a blurry picture. I’ll never forget it!

Group of elderly people on Juneteenth in Eastwoods Park, Austin, TX 1900. – Courtesy of Mrs. Charles Stephenson (Grace Murray), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Today, I usually take off June 19th and do a random act of kindness somewhere, when it’s possible. These traditions have become more and more important to me and my family as racial tensions have re-ignited in America.

I also pause and give thanks to all my ancestors who paved so many ways and sacrificed so much.

I see a lot more people opening up about Juneteenth, especially as it has become a national holiday. While it represents the day when the last Black slaves were freed, we have so far to go for us to truly realize social equality and equity. The pain and scars of being forgotten and used have been passed down for generations and are still there. Way too many children are still faced with the daunting challenge of overcoming substantial social and economic challenges due solely to the color of their skin.

As a nation, we have just chosen to celebrate Juneteenth as a day when all people in our country are free. Let us take time to remember the pain our ancestors felt fighting for freedom, while making contributions and sacrifices to this country. But let us also acknowledge the work that still needs to be done for all people in our country to be truly free and equal.

Happy Juneteenth.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Sees Bridges of Hope for Oakland Children

By Eric Steckel
June 1, 2021

Since taking office in 2015, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has focused her efforts on improving education in our community schools. It has been central to her vision for the future of Oakland. Children Rising was honored to welcome Mayor Schaaf, who once again shared her thoughts during our Hope for Children Now LIVE gala.

Building Bridges of Hope: Opportunity and Challenge

“What a perfect theme for this year’s gala, Bridges of Hope. I can’t think of anything more apropos to the year 2021,” she told our audience. “Our children need us now more than ever.”

Since schools closed their doors in March 2020, the achievement gap in schools serving our lowest-income communities has widened. But like many of us, Mayor Schaaf sees signs of hope as COVID-19 cases drop and we cautiously move forward and schools begin to reopen. “We know that our children will never get that year of learning back. We also know that nothing is more impactful in the life of a child than a caring adult. Children Rising has been providing those caring adults in such an impactful way to the children and families of Oakland for 20 years.”

Mayor Schaaf also reminded us of another bridge of hope: overcoming the digital divide. The Oakland Undivided Campaign, a partnership between the Mayor’s office of education, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), the Oakland Public Education Fund and Tech Exchange, made dramatic strides toward closing the digital divide. Online tutoring is made possible by student access to technology and provides long-term enrichment to our proven one-on-one programs.

Hope for Children Now Special Guest Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf

“By moving more of your tutoring to an online format, you not only can reach more children, but can also engage more volunteers, more caring adults, more impactful mentors. That is our opportunity and our challenge.”

She urged caring members of the community to help. “With more online opportunities and the amazing connection that only a mentoring relationship can give you, you and your friends will be so glad that you have gotten involved as a volunteer or a tutor for Children Rising.”

We thank Mayor Schaaf for her commitment to educational equity in our community schools, and her unwavering focus in empowering children and youth to rise to their God-given potential.

YES, I CAN empower a child to build bridges to a better future!

 I want to learn more about online reading or math clinics to see if tutoring is right for me!

I want to help fund Children Rising tutoring and mentoring programs to empower more children this year!