June 19th, 1985, in Galveston, Texas was the day federal troops arrived to gain complete control of the state, freeing all slaves. This day was marked two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Every year on June 19th, we remember this piece of American History.
Juneteenth, also known as “Jubilee Day”, is often referred to as America’s actual Independence Day, since July 4th, 1776 symbolizes liberty and freedom for some Americans and not all. In June of 2021, Juneteenth was officially declared a Federal Holiday and is celebrated across the United States. It’s important for companies who value diversity and inclusion to acknowledge and honor Juneteenth’s history.
Ways to Celebrate Juneteenth in the Workforce
How can your business recognize Juneteenth’s importance with employees and the broader community? Here are a few ideas for giving meaningful recognition to the holiday.
#1 Make the Holiday a Company-Wide Effort
Creating a company-wide effort to honor this day can help bring awareness to the history and impact it created on Americans. Discussing company-wide action plans on diversity and inclusion, hosting workshops, volunteering, and reflecting are great initiatives to honor Juneteenth.
#2 Support Black Businesses
Another excellent way to support this holiday is by supporting Black-owned businesses. By doing this, you are supporting the community which celebrates this holiday the most. For example, support a Black-owned business by catering your next office luncheon. Support their businesses and get your employees talking about giving back to all types of companies around us.
#3 Volunteer at Juneteenth Events
Many places across the United States host parties and celebrations every year for Juneteenth. This can be an awesome way to celebrate and volunteer your time. Since the start of the pandemic, many of these events went virtual. Participating in events, either in person or via zoom, is a great way for teams to donate their time and learn more about the meaning behind this holiday.
#4 Host Guest Speakers
Inviting guest speakers like authors, historians, civil rights activists, or celebrities to speak on the Juneteenth importance will provide valuable discussions for everyone. This can lead to personal reflections and opportunities for employees to better themselves and those around them.
#5 Make these Efforts Year-Round
Even after holidays with such importance as Juneteenth, it’s important to continue to raise awareness. Spreading diversity and inclusion initiatives all year round at work and outside the workplace is necessary for being true to those initiatives.
Juneteenth is an important holiday that celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. Employees can engage in a variety of activities and events to continue bringing awareness to this historical date. What will you implement in your company to help spread awareness?