Date Posted

On the night before the Juneteenth holiday, hundreds of Local 3 IBEW members, retirees, families, and guest speakers attended a forum and celebration held in the Electrical Industry Center Auditorium. This event was co-sponsored by the Local 3 Diversity Committee, Educational & Cultural Trust Fund of the Electrical IndustryHarry Van Arsdale Jr. Memorial Association, and New York Electrical Contractors Association (NYECA).

Pictures and quotes of influential African-Americans lined the walls of the Auditorium, and the program featured videos and news segments explaining the origins and importance of Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, and “America’s second Independence Day.” The date of June 19th, which became a federal holiday in 2021, marks the anniversary of the emancipation of slaves in Galveston, Texas, upon the full enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation after the Confederacy’s defeat in the U.S. Civil War in 1865. Today, it reminds us of our history, the progress we have made, and how far we have left to go to guarantee equality and justice for all.

The program and open mic comments were facilitated by Local 3 member and general superintendent Paul Mosley, who outlined the three overarching goals of the evening to educate, to celebrate, and to inspire each other. Local 3 Business Manager Chris Erikson, Joint Industry Board Chairman Humberto Restrepo, Justice Cassandra A. Johnson (candidate for Queens Surrogate’s Court), and State Senator John Liu further explained the context and relevance of Juneteenth, as union members, coworkers, and voters.