This Sunday, June 19, is officially Juneteenth National Independence Day, a U.S. federal holiday honoring the end of slavery in the U.S. It commemorates June 19, 1865: the day that Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, and told slaves of their emancipation. That day came more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.
Looking back in time, Quakers were among the first white people to denounce slavery in the American colonies and Europe, and the Society of Friends became the first organization to take a collective stand against both slavery and the slave trade, later spearheading the international and ecumenical campaigns against slavery. Historians believe ideas set forth during the religious movement known as the Second Great Awakening inspired abolitionists to rise up against slavery. This Protestant revival encouraged the concept of adopting renewed morals, which centered around the idea that all men are created equal in the eyes of God.
Despite certifying Juneteenth as a federal holiday, Black Americans continue to face systematic challenges such as the racial wealth gap, disproportionate incarceration, and persistent health disparities. Many activists say the holiday shouldn’t be seen as a substitute for substantive action but as a step in the right direction.
Just as the Quakers and other religious groups took a stance against slavery, we are seeing an increase in aligning faith and finance with the goal of using capital to promote racial justice and economic equality. Helping others is a common theme in many religious traditions, which we believe encourages people to look to their faith and invest in ways that align with their values.
Or if you are interested in making investments that focus on solutions to racial inequality, read about our Minority CARES initiative, which was created in June 2020 in response to client demand. You can also read more on the $1.2 billion invested in the initiative on behalf of clients since its launch in our 1Q22 Minority CARES impact report.