Today is a historic day. We recognized (officially) as a nation the day that federal troops arrived in Galveston, TX, to ensure that the Emancipation Proclamation upheld the promise of freedom and liberty–a promise that had been made two years and six months before the arrival on the nineteenth of June. As we honor this day, I look at Juneteenth not as a moment of celebration but as a sober reminder of the long, hard work and sacrifices that had to be made for change to take place not just in law but in reality.
It is that work that I find myself reflecting on today. The events of our present time – both triumph and loss alike – remind me that progress doesn’t happen without someone advocating for the future they deserve as an inalienable right. This year served as a frustrating reminder that we are still working to dismantle systems so deeply entrenched in society’s foundations. Have we made progress? Yes, but there’s still work to do, not just for my generation, but for the generations to come.
I have been fortunate enough to grow up among a generation of women, especially women of color, who advocate for themselves (and their communities) for quality education, and economic opportunities. Yes, it has been hard work, but to see this same power manifest itself in the next generation is the most rewarding work of my lifetime.
At Techbridge Girls, we are committed to fighting on the frontlines for Black, Indigenous, girls* of color, to ensure they get equal access to educational and economic opportunities that are provided through a quality STEM education. We see the untapped brilliance that is being left behind because of inequitable systems that deny the promise that we ALL were awarded over 150 years ago.
We reengineer the way STEM education is taught to our girls. We are also acutely aware that to succeed, we must look at the whole girl–her intellectual and emotional self–and help her realize that she too belongs and has the power to change our society. Our team has centered on girls’ capabilities, readiness, and willingness to bring their voices, ideas, and values to transform our world through STEM. We are fighting for them to be recognized and celebrated for all of their brilliance, unique contributions, experiences, and insights so that they can propel innovation and so we as a nation can live up to our ideals and values.
So this Juneteenth, while we celebrate how far we’ve come, I am reminded of the work we have left to do for our girls. We cannot just stop at a holiday. It’s every educator, caregiver, sibling, family member, role model, and person’s job to provide girls with opportunities where they can thrive in this STEM revolution. We must do this work today to pave the way for a brighter future for all.