Spotlight Message

Informal photo of a smiling superintendent Priya Tahiliani

Honoring Juneteenth — Freedom Day

June 19, 2021 


To the Everett Public Schools Community,

This past Saturday was Juneteenth, an important day for us all and a particularly meaningful occasion for educators and students.

In the strictest terms, Juneteenth is celebrated in memory of June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger delivered news of the Emancipation Proclamation to enslaved people in and around Galveston, Texas. In a larger sense, it is a day that observes the injustice and struggle that is central to our history and our society. As with any important anniversary, Juneteenth makes its impact not through the observance of a day on the calendar but through the thoughts it provokes and the reflection it demands.

As educators, Juneteenth gives us the chance to affirm our commitment to providing our students with a clear and accurate picture of events. We must always be open to doing things better and to recognize when the snapshots we have been using need to be enhanced or replaced. For that matter, we should always be open to being open-minded. Juneteenth provides an outlet for a wide and thought-provoking range of ideas and perspectives that have a place in our collective and individual deliberations as educators.

Juneteenth is also a reminder that not all of history falls neatly in between start and end dates. Nor do we understand historical events in the way we grasp an equation or a law of nature. Events, movements, trends, opinions, laws, legislation, elections, controversies, culture, and current events intermingle and overlap in ways that deepen our understanding and enhance our appreciation of what has happened in the past and what we might hope for in the future.

We are thrilled that President Joe Biden yesterday signed legislation that makes Juneteenth a federal holiday, giving it the recognition it rightfully deserves. The EPS joins our nation in recognizing this holiday and joining the effort to honor unfilled promises and dreams.

In Partnership,
Priya Tahiliani
Superintendent of Schools