Support for Important Causes Go Beyond Celebrations in June

By Niki T. Ingram, President of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation.

June is an important month for many reasons. Besides daydreaming about our approaching summer vacations, enjoying NBA and NHL playoffs, and spending time outdoors, this month also brings the opportunity for reflection and celebration. As you may know, June is Pride Month. Across the country, LGBTQIA+ individuals and allies gather to celebrate the strength and power of the community. June signifies the Stonewall riots in New York City that took place on June 28, 1969, which is known to be the marker of the beginning of the modern-day liberation movement. The movement fought to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices against the LGBTQIA+ community to achieve justice and equal opportunity for all. 

A year after the uprising, to mark the anniversary on June 28, the first gay pride marches took place in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco. Within a few years, gay rights organizations were founded across the U.S. and the world. Today, LGBT Pride events are held annually worldwide in June in honor of the Stonewall riots, with International LGBT Pride Day on June 28.

The Philadelphia Bar Foundation is proud to partner with several nonprofits who fight for LGBTQIA+ rights every day. The Mazzoni Center, one of our nonprofit partners, provides free or low-cost legal advice and assistance to LGBTQ people on issues related to their identity, with an emphasis on helping low-income and underserved populations. The Mazzoni Center also provides comprehensive health and wellness services to the community without the judgement that folks may face from a typical clinic or health provider. To kick off Pride Month, they will be hosting a series of group fitness classes on Saturday, June 1st and Sunday, June 2nd.  I highly recommend coming out to support this fantastic organization and break a sweat for a great cause! More information can be found here.

June is also when we come together to honor Juneteenth. Juneteenth is the oldest celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19th, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was in effect, Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas to announce that the more than 250,000 enslaved African Americans in the state were free by executive decree. This day became known as Juneteenth by the newly freed people of Texas.

Today, Juneteenth is celebrated across the nation, with the largest celebration being right here in Philadelphia. There will be numerous ways to celebrate Juneteenth with the entire family in Philly this year. On Sunday June 16th, there will be a parade starting near the Mann Center, an outdoor marketplace at Malcolm X Park, and a music festival, just to name a few. I urge you, no matter who you are or how you identify, to join in on the celebration. More information can be found here.

With the approaching election and tense political climate, it’s important to take time to celebrate. There are numerous organizations who are doing this crucial work day in and day out who need your support beyond the month of June. Allow these celebrations to be the jumping off point of your continuous support rather than isolated instances. Happy June to all!

P.S. I am devouring the Danny Ryan series by Don Winslow. This trilogy is perfect for summer. The books are tightly written and hard to put down.