During their board meeting on May 24th, the Matthews Board of Commissioners officially recognized Juneteenth, a commemoration of the end of slavery, as an official holiday.
As a town, recognition of this historical day is an important step in meeting a component of our town vision, being “a place where people of various racial, ethnic, cultural, and economic backgrounds are equally accepted.” It is an acknowledgment of the existence and importance of the Black community in our town – as well as the historical structural barriers and current inequities and injustices Black residents face.
Acknowledging the history of systemic racism that members of our Black community and other communities of color experience is an important part of the work that Greater Matthews Habitat for Humanity does. Discrimination in housing policy and opportunity – particularly against Black Americans – is one of the chief drivers of racial inequities that persist today. We must understand that history, and it must inform our work going forward. We must, throughout our work, do a better job of connecting issues of racial and social injustice with historic barriers to affordable housing and working to eradicate those barriers.
But the problem of systemic racism and bigotry – even just in here in Matthews, will take more than us. - will take more than our Board Commissioners. It will take all of us. Tomorrow, for this Juneteenth, I encourage you to learn more about the history of discriminatory housing practices, wrestle with the truths of our past and our present, and reflect on how you’ll participate in the fight for racial justice.
President & CEO