Dear Friends of Sojourner House,
One of the first objects that our clients, staff, volunteers, and guests see upon entering our building is a photo of great African-American preacher Sojourner Truth. As many of you know, our 29-year-old organization was named after Sojourner Truth who was nothing short of a heroine and a role model for all generations that have followed.
Truth was born into slavery, but escaped to freedom in 1826. She gave herself the name Sojourner Truth in 1843 after she became convinced that God had called her to leave the city and go into the countryside “testifying the hope that was in her.” During the Civil War, Truth helped recruit Black troops for the Union Army. An electrifying public speaker, Sojourner Truth committed her life to being a leader in the crusade against slavery in mid-19th century America.*
As many of you also know, today is Juneteenth. Juneteenth – also known as Jubilee Day, Cel-Liberation Day, Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, or the Black Fourth of July – is an American holiday that commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth is linked back to June 19, 1865, two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, TX, announcing that the Civil War had ended and the slaves were free. Starting in 2020, Sojourner House is now observing Juneteenth as a paid holiday within our organization, to acknowledge the stain of slavery and to celebrate Black American freedom.
In the weeks that have followed since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, we at Sojourner House have watched the outcry for change and social justice spread worldwide. Sojourner Truth’s fight for social justice continues to this day. Her tenacity, her hope, her strength, and her guidance are needed now more than ever.
Since 1991, the board and staff have, in the spirit of Sojourner Truth, made a commitment to the families who have passed through our doors, to help them build healthy lives of hope, tenacity, strength, and freedom from the disease of addiction. We hope that our families have led and will lead honest and socially just lives. In the words of Sojourner Truth: “The truth is all powerful and will prevail.”