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SHA makes Juneteenth an official holiday


SHA makes Juneteenth an official holiday

SHA Board of Commissioners Chair, Paul Purcell

Dear SHA Community, 

On behalf of the Seattle Housing Authority Board of Commissioners and all of us at SHA, I am pleased to let you know that in a special meeting on June 2 the Board voted to approve a resolution making June 19 an official SHA annual holiday in recognition of Juneteenth. 

As you may know, Washington State recently passed legislation to make it a state holiday, beginning in 2022. Making Juneteenth an official holiday is something SHA has been eager to do. We chose not to wait and acted to make it effective this year. 

Because June 19 falls on a Saturday this year, the new SHA holiday will be recognized on Friday, June 18, 2021 and SHA will be closed that day in honor of Juneteenth. 

SHA communities have held Juneteenth celebrations for years and many people have helped organize and have participated in those events. We hope SHA’s designation of Juneteenth as an official holiday will add to the meaning of those events, reminding us of the historical significance of ending the atrocity of slavery and of the inequities Black/African Americans suffered then and continue to suffer today. 

Marking Juneteenth is not just about recognizing a time in history. It is about recognizing that racism still exists and that we as a nation of people must come together to end it. The fight for justice and for the right to live free of fear is not over, and the obligation to continue that fight lies with all of us. Here are resources to learn more about Juneteenth, systemic racism and actions we can take to help end it.

Last July, the Board passed a resolution relating to race and social justice, denouncing racism and social injustice, committing the Seattle Housing Authority to an active role in eliminating racism in all its forms in Housing Authority administration and operations and dedicating the Housing Authority to social justice in all its activities. Establishing Juneteenth as a holiday is in keeping with that resolution but is by no means a fulfillment of it. In meeting our mission of providing quality affordable housing and services, we will continually have ending racism and fighting for social justice at our core. 

At SHA, we are inspired by the diversity, spirit and strength of our larger SHA community. We do not do our work alone, but together with our tenants and many partners. Thank you for joining us in the effort to end racism and racist systems that hurt Black/African Americans and other people of color. 

Happy Juneteenth! 

Paul Purcell 

Chair, SHA Board of Commissioners