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Salt Lake City, Sarah Meredith - Around
the United States, children learn about the Emancipation Proclamation and how
it freed all the slaves in the country. While influential and rightfully
taught, the Emancipation Proclamation was not as sweeping as many are led to
believe. Lincoln’s Proclamation only declared that the slaves residing in the
states which were in rebellion against the Union were to be freed. It was a
wonderful expulsion of the sin of slavery, but since the states that were in
rebellion were not recognizing the executive power of President Lincoln, the
order was not enforced and four non-rebellious states with slaves did not have
to follow the order at all. And then, there was Texas.
Texas was not a part of
the Confederacy and so slaves could be brought into the state and kept in
slavery, or they could try to escape to a state which was in rebellion to claim
their freedom in the eyes of the United States, which was unlikely due to the
geographically distance which Texas claims. Deliverance came when the federal
troops marched into Texas on June 18, 1865 to occupy the state since General
Lee had surrendered a few months earlier.
The next day, General Granger, who
was leading the liberating Union troops, issued an order stating: “in
accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all
slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and
rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection
heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor”
(General Order No 3, General Granger, June 19, 1865). While in the rest of the
order it is made clear that the freedmen could neither flee nor join the
military, there were day-long celebrations June 19th for that
first step toward equality on the path that African-Americans are still
year since, June 19th is celebrated within the African-American
community all around the country to continue the legacy and embrace the
heritage of the first generation of freedmen in the United States. The
excitement of the anniversary has caused the name to become abbreviated.
Juneteenth is now a week-long celebration and an engagement in African American
year Salt Lake gets to continue those festivities with the
Juneteenth Utah Festival. Starting with the kickoff on June 4 all the way
through June 20 there are events around the city and state to help celebrate
the heritage upon which our country was literally built.
UN Press Release , António
Guterres - World Refugee Day is an expression of solidarity with people
who have been uprooted from their homes by war or persecution.
The latest figures from the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, show that at least 65.6
million people -- 1 of every 113 members of the human family -- have been
forcibly displaced within their own countries or across borders.
While Syria remains the world’s largest source of refugees, South Sudan is the
biggest and fastest growing new displacement emergency, with 1.4 million
refugees and 1.9 million internally displaced, the vast majority of them under
18 – a further blow to the future prospects of the world’s youngest nation.
Behind these vast numbers lie individual stories of hardship, separation and
loss; of life-threatening journeys in search of safety; of gargantuan struggles
to rebuild lives in difficult circumstances. It is heartbreaking to see
borders being closed, people perishing in transit, and refugees and migrants
alike being shunned, in violation of human rights and international law.
The human cost is profound: millions of jobs lost, millions of children thrust
out of school, and lives haunted by trauma and intolerance.
I have called for a surge in diplomacy for peace to prevent new conflicts from
emerging and escalating, and to resolve those that have already had their
calamitous impact. I am also appealing to Member States to do far more to
protect people fleeing for their lives, buttress the international protection
regime, and find solutions so that people are not left in limbo for years on
The New York Declaration, adopted nine months ago, maps out a comprehensive and
equitable way to address refugee and migration challenges, building on
long-established laws and practices. The UN’s “Together” campaign offers
a platform to promote respect safety and dignity for refugees and migrants --
and crucially, to fortify social cohesion and change false and negative
narratives that compound the challenges faced by refugees and their
Throughout history, communities living next to crisis zones, as well as those
far from the frontlines, have welcomed the uprooted and given them shelter –
and in return, refugees have given back. Today, 84 per cent of the world’s
refugees are hosted by low- or middle-income countries. We cannot
continue to allow a small number of countries – often the world’s poorest -- to
shoulder this weight alone.
This not about sharing a burden. It is about sharing a global
responsibility, based not only the broad idea of our common humanity but also
on the very specific obligations of international law.
The root problems are war and hatred, not people who flee; refugees are among
the first victims of terrorism.
In recent weeks and months, I have visited refugees and displaced people in
Afghanistan, Somalia and elsewhere. Sitting with these men, women and
children, I was impressed by their fortitude despite having had their lives
World Refugee Day, let us all try to stand in their shoes, and stand up for
their rights and our shared future.
Salt Lake City, Sarah Meredith - In 2006, Congress and
the White House decided that it was high-time that there be a national month of
recognition for the contributions and heritage of the Caribbean-American
people. Caribbean history is intertwined with the history of the U.S. and will
continue to be intertwined as we continue to be a connected world, and as there
will always be needs that need be met. Congress cited following list as reasons
that it is necessary to have a heritage month:
Congress HCR 71, 2006
Every year since, June has been declared as the month to celebrate and remember
the contributions of so many Caribbean-Americans.
Salt Lake City, Sarah Meredith - Much like the Fourth
of July in the United States, France celebrates the throwing off of a
monarchical power in favor of a government by the people. This holiday in
on the day that the people of France overtook the Bastille, a military fortress
turned into a prison of the state. After being starved and oppressed and taking
the cue from the Americans, the French working class said "no more"
and attacked the Bastille on July 14, 1789. The next year, on the anniversary
of the end of the absolute monarchy there were celebrations of their
victory. Not until 1880 did this event become La Fête Nationale . Now, it
is celebrated as the day that France united the diverse regions in their
beliefs of "liberté, égalité, fraternité" and the day that they
remember the price that was payed for those values, and for the people speaking
slightly different types of french and just starting to understand the ideal of
a France being under the law and values together.
Salt Lake City, Sarah Meredith - Since 2010, the world
has taken July 18th to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela on his birthday.
This year is particularly special because Wednesday would have been his 100th
birthday. The Nelson Mandela Foundation is encouraging everyone to take 100 days
and do something everyday to make the world a better and safer place, just like
Mandela did everyday of his 95 year life. Specifically we are being asked to
take #ActionAgainstPoverty because it is a basic call for social justice for
all people, which is what Mandela fought for on many fronts and in many ways.
There are events around the country being planned for the 18th, but NMF is
encouraging all to do what they can for those who are underrepresented
everyday, every year. Even if you have no direct connection to South Africa, we
all have a connections with each other and International Nelson Mandela Day is
not just to remember the work and sacrifice of Mandela, but to celebrate the
spirit of charity that we may all embody.
“It is in your hands to make of our world a better one for all” -Mandela
For more info on events and history: here and here
With all the chaos happening on every reach of the globe, it is easy to fall into an attitude of hatred and discouragement. Recognizing the relevance and importance of friendship as a noble and valuable sentiment in the lives of human beings around the world, and bearing in mind that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and presents an opportunity to build bridges between communities, honoring cultural diversity, affirming that friendship can contribute to the efforts of the international community the United Nations declared an annual day of International Friendship to occur on July 30th. Friendships can be cultivated at any level and between most, it not all people. Just putting effort into friendship can help to encourage a community in our world. Friendship can help foster a culture of peace through education; promote sustainable economic and social development; promote respect for all human rights; ensure equality between women and men; foster democratic participation; advance understanding, tolerance and solidarity; support participatory communication and the free flow of information and knowledge; promote international peace and security. Friendship can change a person’s world and can change our entire world.In the spirit of International Day of Friendship check out our photos from our event with SL’s sister city in Japan
Article written and compiled by Sarah Meredith More information here
Yoichi Okamoto/LBJ Library
Monday is the 53rd anniversary of the voting rights act of 1965. Lyndon B Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act which made it illegal to deny the right to vote on the basis of race or color, upholds the 15th amendment, and says that devices such as literacy tests are not a basis upon which to deny a vote. This Act moved through Congress quickly to arrive on LBJ’s desk August 6, 1965, after March 7, 1965 otherwise known as Bloody Sunday where Selma state troopers attacked 600 non-violent voting-rights protesters. While this Act has not marked the end in racial discrimination in voting, it was a step which has shaped legislation for 53 years. This is a day of mixed feelings; pride that action was taken to remove discrimination in the voting booth, but the knowledge that it took until 1965 to remove literacy tests and grandfather clauses from the voting booths around the country. (Photo: LBJ shaking hands with Rev Ralph David Abernathy Sr. shortly after having signed the VRA)
Article written by Sarah MeredithAs a point of interest, August 6, 1945 was the day that the United States dropped the A-bomb on Hiroshima.
"There are currently 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the world. This is the largest youth population ever. But 1 in 10 of the world’s children live in conflict zones and 24 million of them are out of school. Political instability, labour market challenges and limited space for political and civic participation have led to increasing isolation of youth in societies.
12 August was first designated International Youth Day by the UN General Assembly in 1999, and serves as an annual celebration of the role of young women and men as essential partners in change, and an opportunity to raise awareness of challenges and problems facing the world’s youth.
Youth need safe spaces where they can come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision making processes and freely express themselves. While there are many types of spaces, safe spaces ensure the dignity and safety of youth. Safe spaces such as civic spaces enable youth to engage in governance issues; public spaces afford youth the opportunity to participate in sports and other leisure activities in the community; digital spaces help youth interact virtually across borders with everyone; and well planned physical spaces can help accommodate the needs of diverse youth especially those vulnerable to marginalization or violence.
Ensuring that safe spaces are inclusive, youth from diverse backgrounds especially those from outside the local community, need to be assured of respect and self-worth. In humanitarian or conflict prone settings for example, youth may lack the space to fully express themselves without feeling uncomfortable or unwelcome. Similarly, without the existence of safe space, youth from different race/ethnicity, gender, religious affiliation or cultural background may feel intimidated to freely contribute to the community. When youth have safe spaces to engage, they can effectively contribute to development, including peace and social cohesion.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically Goal 11, emphasizes the need for the provision of space towards inclusive and sustainable urbanization. Furthermore, the New Urban Agenda (NUA) reiterates the need for public spaces for youth to enable them to interact with family and have constructive inter-generational dialogue. Additionally, the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY) which is the UN framework for youth development, prioritizes the provision of “leisure activities” as essential to the psychological, cognitive and physical development of young people. As more and more youth grow in a technologically connected world, they aspire to engage deeper in political, civic and social matters, and the availability and accessibility of safe spaces becomes even more crucial to make this a reality."Salt Lake County has many services and volunteer opportunities for youth, as well as programs for families with youth. The youth are the future of the world, and they deserve to get every chance to better their lives and their minds. For information on the youth programs Salt Lake County offers visit the website at slco.org/youth
Article written by UN with additional information by Sarah Meredith