Dear GCF Community,
Also known as Freedom Day, June 19th honors the anniversary of June 19th, 1865 when word of the abolishment of slavery finally reached Black slaves in Texas – two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. It is a day recognizing Black liberation but also a marker of the ongoing fight for the rights of Black Americans.
As truly equitable systems are a work in progress, Juneteenth serves as both a reminder to celebrate the achievements made to date and as a call to act – and to keep the spirit of this action alive each day. GCF pays tribute to the previous generations, as well as present-day community members, who contribute to creating justice and power for Black communities.
At GCF, this work is intentionally rooted in our mission to “One day live in green cities where EVERYONE can thrive.” As an organization centered around the voices of BIPOC young adults, we are committed to anti-racism in every aspect of our work. From staff and board culture, to programming such as our Liberated Leader series that examines Corps Member relationships to racism and oppression – in support of wellness and insight on their paths as inclusive leaders – GCF serves to show the interconnectedness between racial, social and environmental justice movements.
This year, Juneteenth celebrations at each of our Eco-Hubs again kicked off the start of farmstands this past Saturday. As part of our ongoing efforts connected to food justice, NYCHA residents took home fresh produce grown by Cohort 25 including collards, chard, kale, bok choy and garlic scapes. By planting, tending and harvesting local fruits, vegetables and herbs for the community, Corps Members and Eco-Hub Fellows are not only leading sustainable practices, but reclaiming food sovereignty and historical practices, supporting community wellness and liberation. GCF Juneteenth Eco-Hub activities also included planting, herbalism activity stations and giveaways for BIPOC community empowerment.
In addition, Eco-Hub Fellows and Corps Members have also been working to update and refurbish GCF’s “Each One, Teach One” placards to help better commemorate Juneteenth. This project began in 2020, during the renewed spark of the Black Lives Matter movement and is inspired by an African proverb that originated during the height of slavery, reminding of the responsibility to spread one’s knowledge for community betterment. These signs featuring historical BIPOC community figures including Black environmental and allied social leaders, chosen by GCF Corps Members and Service Coordinators, were installed across the Eco-Hubs on farm beds to honor the abundance of Black culture and legacy.
We are grateful to have such a strong community committed to this important reflection and continual efforts for equity. Leading with our pillars of Service, Training, Sustainability and Justice – We are a Movement, We are the Force.
In service and solidarity,