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At the Aspen Institute Forum on Women and Girls, we are commemorating Juneteenth and Pride Month by centering joy. Juneteenth is celebrated in honor of Black freedom and remembrance of the emancipation of slaves in the U.S. Building on the legacy of the Stonewall uprising and first Pride parade, led by trans women of color, Pride Month honors LGBTQ+ communities around the world celebrating their agency to love and be themselves across identities and gender expression. Both are traditionally celebrated through community gatherings, parades, dance, food, art, and more. In the midst of centering joy and reflecting on the complex history of how far we’ve come as a society, we know that there is still much work to do. It will take a radical shift in power and systems to realize a just future that prioritizes the needs of and provides space for impacted communities to heal.

This month and beyond we honor the leadership of Black women and Black trans women who continue to create solutions in service of justice: 

  • Kristen Clarke, who is the first Black woman to lead the U.S. Department of Justice‚Äôs Civil Rights division;
  • Karine Jean-Pierre, who is the second Black woman and first openly gay spokeswoman to lead a White House press briefing; and 
  • Andrea Jenkins, who is the first Black, openly transgender woman elected to public office in the U.S. 

From leading in government and business to providing relief for LGBTQ+ youth, Black women and Black trans women exemplify what it looks like to lead from a place of possibility and power.

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