"Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won; you earn it and win it in every generation." - Coretta Scott King.
Two and half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, on June 19th, 1865, federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas. They took control of the state and ensured that all enslaved people were freed. While it took two and half years for freedom to reach across the country, it took over 150 years for this historic day to officially be named a federal holiday. On June 17th, 2021 legislation was signed establishing June 19th as a Juneteenth National Independence Day.
While Juneteenth is a newly recognized federal holiday, celebrations on this day date back to 1866. Freedmen in Texas organized the first of what became the annual celebration of "Jubilee Day" on June 19th. These celebrations often included music, feasts, prayer services, and gatherings to commemorate and honor their heritage, history, and freedom.
As Juneteenth approaches we’d like to share with you a few ways you can recognize the holiday this year.
Supporting Black-owned businesses means we can begin to close the racial wealth gap, strengthen local economies, create jobs, and celebrate Black cultures.
This company offers a wide variety of cookies, baking, and breakfast mixes that are allergy-friendly. Partake was founded by CEO Denise Woodard when her daughter was diagnosed with multiple food allergies. Black communities are often in food deserts where nutrient-rich, and allergy-friendly foods are challenging to obtain. In addition to bringing tasty treats to the masses, Partake partners with organizations like No Kid Hungry to provide access to the food, education, and advocacy these families deserve.
The Underbelly is an online wellness community with the goal of creating a world where everyone can discover holistic wellness that meets you where you are. Wellness is not a privilege but an intrinsic right that should be accessible to all people. They offer a series of yoga classes to help you breathe, become grounded, and get you fired up about your individual wellness. In addition to classes, The Underbelly also has a shop where you can find apparel, yoga props, books, and more.
Things are always better with bubbles. The Sip not only brings bubbles but also serves knowledge and creates a community for women to discover their own flavor. Two friends started this company to bring diversity to bubbles and the boardroom. The Sip offers a subscription service that includes several of the world's top wines, easy-to-understand wine guides, and a monthly virtual tasting with the founders. In addition to making bubbles more accessible and enjoyable, The Sip is giving back with its Take a Sip, Give a Sip program. Each Sip purchase gives access to clean water for women and children in need through the East Oakland Community Project (EOCP).
When the pandemic shut down Chandrika Mackall's beauty studio, she turned her love of fragrances and candles into a business. Love Notes Candle Company provides non-toxic candles that offer encouragement and positive affirmations to all those who smell their lovely scents. Each candle is named with the hope that it will be uplifting and bring laughter to the user.
Discuss your company's diversity initiatives and how they are actually working. Consider these questions: Does your team honestly believe that race and gender will never be barriers to their progress within the company? Is your leadership team a diverse representation of your entire organization? How can you promote and improve your company's diversity initiatives?
Host a lunch and learn. This is a great opportunity for your team to learn about topics such as the history of Juneteenth, historical figures pivotal in human rights and civil rights movements, or, diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. You could invite a guest speaker or have a knowledgeable team member present a topic.
Provide books, podcasts, and documentaries to your team that teach the history of Juneteenth and Black communities and/or highlight important topics such as diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging [DEIB].
Listen to DH's Chief DEIB Innovator and Advisor, Jeannine Carter, discuss the basic frameworks for understanding the differences between diversity, equity, and inclusion [DEI] and ideas for how leaders can begin this complex work.
Giving back to the community is an excellent way to recognize Juneteenth. You could organize a service day for your team to work in the community. This could include cleaning up roadways or parks, planting gardens in underserved areas, or connecting with a non-profit that serves Black communities.
No matter how you recognize Juneteenth this year be sure to take a moment to listen, learn and reflect on the strides that have been made and the path ahead to ensure that all people can live free of discrimination, free of fear, and free to pursue their purpose.