Colorado WINS closed it's offices today for Juneteenth to celebrate the day the news about emancipation reached the last community of enslaved people in the United States, to recognize the struggles Black Americans have faced since then, and to acknowledge the work we still have to do to achieve a nation where everyone is valued for the work they do -- not the color of their skin.
In our contract negotiations, we are demanding that Colorado recognize this day as a state holiday and give state employees time to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions of Black Americans to our country.
While we celebrate Juneteenth, we also must reflect on how slavery produced systems and cultures that undervalues the work of Black Americans, and especially Black Women. Across sectors, Black women are paid 21% less than white women. In spite of this, Black women have been at the forefront of labor movements: organizing for fair pay, good union jobs and equitable representation in positions of leadership.
We are proud to celebrate this holiday and hope to make it an official holiday for state employees in the future.