On June 19, many of our colleagues celebrated Juneteenth, which marks the day in 1865 when Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and freed the last remaining slaves, three months after the end of the Civil War and two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day, Juneteenth symbolizes a turning point in our nation's history.
To commemorate this historic day, our B-BOLD business resource group organized a Juneteenth Virtual Museum Tour led by John Spann, Program and Outreach officer at the Mississippi Humanities Council. John, an esteemed educator and former curator of Education for the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, used exhibits from the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. The virtual presentation explored the emancipation proclamation, the broader importance of Juneteenth beyond African American History, the celebration of Emancipation Day in other states, and the subsequent reconstruction period in U.S. history.
According to John, celebrating Juneteenth goes beyond recognizing freedom and historical significance. He emphasizes that it involves reckoning with the painful past endured by enslaved Africans, and appreciating the lasting contributions and excellence embedded into America by the enslaved and their descendants.
Bethany Gardner, global chair for B-BOLD and design thinking research lead at Bechtel, highlights the importance of these programs, stating, “This day marks the slow but steady progression of African American experiences, culture, and stories being heard, acknowledged, and valued in our country, and I am gratified to work for an organization that recognizes the importance of commemorating the freedom of ALL Americans.”
B-BOLD brings together Bechtel's employees of Black and African descent along with allies from across the company. The group fosters networking, cultural awareness, and career development and stands as one of the seven Business Resource Groups (BRGs) within Bechtel.
At Bechtel, diversity is considered a superpower. As part of our strategic Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Action Plan, we actively observe numerous affinity and heritage celebrations to honor our diverse workforce and cultivate a more inclusive culture.