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Talking … and Listening – Juneteenth Offers Opportunities to Learn, Grow

Juneteenth, an annual celebration of the end of slavery in the United States, took on added significance this year amid the nationwide protests regarding racial injustice.

The commemoration traces its roots to June 19, 1865, the day that Union soldiers told enslaved African Americans in Galveston, TX, that the Civil War had ended and they were free.

Juneteenth – which gets its name from blending the words “June” and “nineteenth” – is now celebrated throughout the United States and has also been marked in other countries, including France, Ghana, Israel, South Korea and Taiwan. Although Juneteenth is not a federal holiday, it offers opportunities for people to learn more about the nation’s rich diversity and history.

This year, it can also be a time for conversations – including discussions in workplaces, according to the USPS Employee Engagement team.

The group offers these tips:

* Be open. Talking about the events that led to the protests can raise uncomfortable topics, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t discuss them. The most important thing is to listen respectfully to what colleagues have to say.

* Be mindful. Recognize that some colleagues might have trouble expressing themselves, particularly if the discussion takes place through video conferencing, which can present unique communication challenges. Give these individuals time and space to share how they’re feeling, and realize that silence – while uncomfortable – can also be necessary.

* Be ready. Be prepared to commit to do what you can to help everyone be better, as individuals and as co-workers.

LGBT Pride Month – Annual Commemoration Began June 1

June is a time to honor the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the United States. The annual commemoration is known as LGBT Pride Month, although some call it LGBTQ Pride Month in recognition of individuals who identify as queer or questioning.

The observance is held in June to commemorate the Stonewall uprising, when patrons and supporters at a gayfriendly tavern in New York City led a protest against persecution. The 1969 incident served as a rallying cry for the LGBT community to increase its visibility and efforts to advocate for equality.

The month typically features celebrations of LGBT history, achievements and identities. These activities often include the rainbow flag, a longtime symbol of the LGBT movement.

The Postal Service has honored several gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans with stamps through the years, including poet Walt Whitman, artist Ellsworth Kelly, astronaut Sally Ride, San Francisco elected official Harvey Milk and author James Baldwin.

The Library of Congress website’s LGBTQ Pride Month page has more information.

Prevent the Bite – Dog Attacks Decreased Last Year, USPS Reports

The Postal Service conducted National Dog Bite Awareness Week June 14-20.

About 5,800 Postal Service employees were bitten by dogs last year, the third consecutive year that the number of attacks has declined.

The total number of dog bites is down by more than 200 since 2018 and down by about 400 since 2017, according to data that USPS released June 11 to promote National Dog Bite Awareness Week, an annual campaign to highlight responsible pet ownership.

“Be Alert: Prevent the BITE” is the theme for this year’s effort, which ran from June 14-20.

“The continued decline in dog attacks shows that our customer and employee outreach about dog bite safety, along with the continued use of digital tools, is working,” said Chris Johnson, the Postal Service’s safety awareness program manager.

About 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Half of these victims are children.

Several cities reported declines in dog bites, including Philadelphia, which reported 34 attacks – down from 51 in 2018 – and San Antonio, which dropped from 47 attacks in 2018 to 28 in 2019.

Other cities saw increases. Los Angeles, which ranked second, reported 74 attacks, up 13 from the year before. Houston led the list of cities where the most attacks against postal workers was recorded last year: 85.

To help protect employees, the Postal Service in recent years has introduced Package Pickup and Mobile Delivery Device features that alert letter carriers to dogs on their routes. In addition to these digital features, the organization is offering safety training for employees and reminders for customers. One tip: If a dog is about to attack, try to place something between yourself and the dog, such as a satchel, backpack or bicycle.

USPS is also reminding carriers to complete dog warning cards for addresses with dogs and to carry authorized dog repellent at all times. The Postal Service’s Dog Bite Awareness Week, which typically occurs in April, was moved to June to coincide with the start of summer, when dog bite incidents peak.

This year’s outreach efforts included news releases, a social media campaign and radio public service announcements.

World of Possibility – Passports a Key Postal Service

If you want to travel the world, USPS can help. Thousands of Post Offices across the nation accept firsttime passport applications for the U.S. State Department.

These offices can also assist customers with passport renewal applications, and some offices can take customers’ passport photos. The Postal Service collects fees for some passport services, making them a revenue source for the organization.

To serve passport customers, USPS offers the Retail Customer Appointment Scheduler, a tool that allows individuals to go online to schedule first-time passport application appointments at participating Post Offices.

Additionally, usps.com offers guidance for passport customers, including detailed instructions on obtaining first-time passports and for adults and minors and renewing passports by mail.

Bugs Bunny – Stamps Celebrating 80th Birthday Coming Soon

The Postal Service will issue commemorative stamps celebrating Bugs Bunny’s 80th birthday on Monday, July 27.

USPS and Warner Bros. Consumer Products will dedicate the stamps during a virtual ceremony that day, which marks the 80th anniversary of Bugs Bunny’s official screen debut.

The character has always been known for his impeccable impersonations and his masterful masquerades, so the soon-to-berevealed 10 designs on the 20-stamp pane will each showcase a costumed Bugs Bunny in some of his most memorable getups.

The original stamp artwork is based on Bugs Bunny’s iconic moments and was created especially for the stamps by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., featuring work from Warner Bros. Animation artists, who also created the sketches on the reverse side of the stamp pane.

Greg Breeding designed the stamps, while William J. Gicker served as art director. Customers can preorder the stamps at usps.com/shopstamps beginning Monday, June 29. Stay tuned for a sneak peek of the stamps at the USPS Facebook page. For details about the virtual dedication ceremony, go to usps.com/bugsbunny

Humor us – What’s Father’s Day, or June, Without Jokes?

Did you hear the one about the unstamped envelope? Oh, you wouldn’t get it. Ba dump bump…

Father’s Day was June 21, and what better way for Postal Service employees to mark the occasion than with some mail-themed dad jokes? OR did we say, “bad” jokes?
Here are a few of our favorites:

* What travels around the world but stays in one corner? A stamp.

* What has more letters than the alphabet? A Post Office.

* What starts with “e,” ends with “e” and only contains one letter? An envelope.

* Why are Postal Service employees innovative? Because they know how to push the envelope.

* What’s a letter carrier’s favorite herb? Parcel-y.

* Why would trees be excellent mail carriers? Because they’re always on root.

* Why did the doctor call the Post Office? He needed help delivering a baby.

If you’re a dad, or a Mail Spoken Here reader, go ahead and try these out on your family – or share them with a dad in your life. Just remember: Mail jokes don’t need much setup … it’s all in the delivery.

And to Continue the Fun – Here are some June Fun Facts

1. June is the month with the longest daylight hours of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and conversely, June has the shortest daylight hours of the year in the Southern Hemisphere.

2. In 2009 June was the 662 most popular name for girls in the USA. – How many June’s do you know?

3. June is derived from Juno, the goddess of marriage. – So Happy Anniversary!! :o)

4. In both common and leap years, no other month begins on the same day of the week as June. Weird, isn’t it?

5. June is international men’s month. We didn’t know there was such a thing…

6. June is accordion awareness month, as well as candy, dairy and papaya month. – Well, candy at least…

On this day

June 1 1974 – The Heimlich maneuver, named after Dr. Henry Heimlich, was published in the journal Emergency Medicine.

June 2 1962 – Ray Charles hit Billboards Top 5 in both Pop and R&B with a country tune – “I Can’t Stop Loving You”

June 3 1956 – Santa Cruz, CA authorities announced a total ban on rock and roll at public gatherings, calling the music “Detrimental to both the health and morals of our youth and community.”