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  • Elizabeth Bradford

Reflections on Juneteenth

On June 19, 1865, enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas would finally meet freedom. This announcement came two and a half years after slavery officially ended, on January 1, 1863.

Over the past week I took time to reflect on all that encompasses Juneteenth. How far we’ve come, and all the work that remains to be done. As I reflected, one question rendered my spirit. “If you could encapsulate the essence of FREEDOM into words, what would they be? What does it look or feel like?”

To me, freedom is:

  • Peace of mind

  • Tear jerking laughter

  • Walking without restraint

  • Trusting fluidity

  • Sacred guidance

  • Relentless courage

  • Accessible knowledge

  • Gentle existence

  • Divinity

  • Fellowship

  • Progress

As a black woman in corporate America, my experience has been to mask myself. To hide my southern accent, to tame my afro, to quiet my voice and to always be amenable for fear of being deemed aggressive. To be a watered-down version of myself 8+ hours a day in hopes that one day I’ll be free to show up as myself. However, working for Pyxis has provided me with an opportunity to show up as my authentic self. Pyxis is an organization that values diverse perspectives and experiences and encourages each of us to bring our authentic selves to the table.

Pyxis Partners works at the intersection of policy, advocacy, and engagement.

We tackle the problems others can't or won’t solve. We develop and advance creative solutions to define pathways to progress, anchored in a commitment to improving the lives of others, building communities up, and fueled by a collective passion for lifting the voice of those that have been underrepresented. In reflecting on Juneteenth, I am proud to be part of a firm that is committed to enabling progress and equality.

While this piece is in celebration of Juneteenth it is also a call to action. Take a moment and think about what freedom looks like for you, day to day. Specifically, the ways you encourage it for yourself, your loved ones and those you may only meet once. I challenge each of us to foster spaces where people can come as they are and be free.


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