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Celebrating Juneteenth with Sasha Bruce Youthwork

Celebrating Juneteenth with Sasha Bruce Youthwork

(Image Caption: Picture of attendees at Sasha Bruce Youthwork’s 2024 Juneteenth Celebration.)

“Sasha Bruce acknowledges the African American community more than I see any other organization. My talents [and those of other youth] and appreciated in a genuine way. Very inclusive, mindful and generous. This organization opened a lot of doors for me and others that I didn’t think would’ve been possible living in my skin color.”
Traci – CURB member (Creative Urban Resourceful Brilliance)

Happy Juneteenth! We at SBY are honored to celebrate the history of this joyous day!

On January 1st, 1863, Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, promising freedom to the enslaved people in the Confederacy.

However, It wasn’t until June 19th, 1865, that the last State that held on to slavery, Texas, was ordered to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, prompting a lasting celebration that only grows with each passing year!

Celebrating Juneteenth at Sasha Bruce Youthwork means recognizing that the rights that are afforded to everyone can’t be fully celebrated until the last member receives them as well.

Therefore, just as the work of freeing African Americans wasn’t complete until their members in Texas received it, the work of Sasha Bruce Youthwork isn’t complete until we end youth homelessness!

(Image Caption: The CURB (Creative Urban Resourceful Brilliance), a council of former clients working to educate other youth to access and utilize resources to prevent homelessness.)

Remembering Our Roots

As Juneteenth approaches as a time to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States, Sasha Bruce Youthwork (SBY) stands proud, reflecting on the profound impact of African American heritage and the ongoing journey towards empowerment and equality.

The Legacy of Sasha Bruce House

Embedded within the heart of SBY lies Sasha Bruce House, a beacon of hope for countless youth. Originating in the 1980s as the District’s sole emergency shelter for individuals under 18, it has provided sanctuary to hundreds of District youth during their most trying times. The roots of this haven stretch back to 1912 when it was built in 192 and served as the home to the District Coroner for many years. 

In 1953, it was purchased by the National Baptist Convention (NBC) as a Retreat for Foreign Baptists Missionaries. NBC is the largest predominantly Black Christian denomination in the United States. You can see pictures of the Retreat in a 1964 edition of Ebony magazine. This retreat, a haven for excluded African American missionaries in its time, exemplifies the spirit of resilience and community that SBY continues to embody.

Uplifting Voices, Fostering Support

SBY’s dedication to the African American community is unwavering. With over 95% of the youth and families we serve being African American, our commitment runs deep. Our team reflects this commitment, with more than 90% of our staff, including key leadership roles, being African American. This representation ensures that our programs are not only culturally relevant but also effective in meeting the community’s evolving needs.

Celebrating Our Future

As we celebrate Juneteenth and our organization’s 50th anniversary, let us reaffirm our commitment to honoring heritage, uplifting voices, and empowering futures. Together, we will continue to build a community where every individual feels seen, heard, and valued for another 50 years!

 If you or someone you know in Washington, DC or Prince George’s County is in need of an emergency shelter, or a drop-in center, please contact us at 202-675-9340 or

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