In commemoration of Juneteenth 2021, Proskauer was honored to host Nikole Hannah-Jones, founder of The 1619 Project, as part of its A Path Forward lecture series and Collaborate for Change program. The discussion was moderated by Keisha-Ann Gray, a partner in the New York office, with support from Proskauer’s Black Lawyer Affinity Group.
Hannah-Jones shared insight into the enduring legacy of slavery and how systemic racial inequities contrast with American ideals. Although this holiday celebrates a moment of hope and joy, its existence also raises important questions and invites reflection.
The 1619 Project, an initiative at The New York Times spearheaded by Hannah-Jones, is provocative for some because it challenges the concept of our national identity. Hannah-Jones questions the framing of the nation’s founders as ushering in liberty and equality for all when some Americans were considered to be less than human. No longer should we view slavery and the contributions of Black Americans as a footnote, but rather “at the very center of the United States.”