June: A Celebration of Progress; a Call to Action on the Road Ahead

by Danielle Comeau

As we head into the final week of June, I reflect on the powerful opportunity for action toward social and economic equity the month offers through Juneteenth (19), National Indigenous Peoples Day (21), and Pride all month. These observances invite us to honor the histories, celebrate the cultures, and acknowledge the struggles of African Americans, Indigenous peoples, and the LGBTQ+ community. Together, they remind us of the ongoing work required to build a more just and inclusive society for all.

Juneteenth, also known as Independence Day, Freedom Day, and Emancipation Day, marks the day that the last remaining slaves in the US Confederation were freed. It is celebrated through faith-based services, communal gatherings and, of course, music. Beyond the celebrations, it serves as a day to educate everyone on our transformative journey to anti-racism and recognition of equality among humans.

Like June 19 for African American communities, June 21 was celebrated by many Indigenous communities for generations with the arrival of the summer solstice, a time of harvesting and giving thanks with loved ones. June is also a month of pride for the 2SLGBTQIA++ community, commemorating years of struggle for civil rights and the ongoing pursuit of equal justice under the law. It is also a month of love as we stand in solidarity to ensure a safe space for all.

What does this month mean for a world in the midst of a large-scale economic transition? While we’re making strides in normalizing inclusion, there are still large gaps in diversity of thought and equal access to finance in project development and investment decision-making. Despite its challenges, not least of which is managing competing stakeholder objectives, the finance industry has the resources to ensure the inclusion of historically marginalized groups in major project investments. Catalyzing these resources will bring us closer to achieving our climate ambition.

June is a celebration, but also a warning for us to avoid repeating past mistakes influenced by unconscious bias. When society creates opportunities for individuals to thrive, it strengthens opportunities for businesses to flourish and communities to connect, driving long term, sustainable investment and growth