GMShay is celebrating Juneteenth as a holiday so that we can reflect on what it means to be free from America’s deep and dark past in slavery. As of today, slavery of African Americans in the United States ended 155 years ago. Lately, seemingly everywhere we turn, we are reminded that hatred and bigotry still exist in great numbers as a result of the deeply ingrained systems created during that time. This means that we have more work to do. We believe that everyone should recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday. It commemorates the liberation of the last enslaved African Americans. Our nation’s constitution that upholds the will of its people to govern its course is unique, a blessing, and a grand opportunity. The United States of America is the “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.” That is why it's important to celebrate freedom, liberty and justice for ALL of our citizens.
Our firm prides ourselves on having a diverse culture. It’s not something we go out of our way to do. We’ve simply found that the best talent comes from the collective of those with different races, backgrounds, and experiences. Our late principal, Eric Meyerhoff fled from the cruel times of the Jewish Holocaust to America to attain a better life, free of the racist brutality of Nazi Germany. Early in the firm’s history, before integration was deemed “socially acceptable or normal”, he and Bob Gunn employed its first black architect, Greg Anderson, at Gunn Meyerhoff because they understood that quality work and a great team aren’t limited to one color. This was a transformative decision for the fabric of Savannah and happened less than 50 years ago! Regardless of where we fall in our own political beliefs and value system, we are all in this together.
As designers we can’t change hate in someone’s heart but we can continue to create more places that people feel invited to celebrate their sharedness rather than their separateness. Transformation occurs because of humanism. We encourage you to reflect with us today about what it truly means to be free in this country. How can you and we do more to move freedom, environmental justice, spiritual justice, and social justice forward?
Check out this below link to learn more about Juneteenth: