The 19th of June marks the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States, when Union troops assumed control of Galveston, Texas. Juneteenth is a day to celebrate and commemorate the end of the institute of slavery. Not only is this a day for remembrance and reflection, but it is also a day for education, awareness and discourse about the topic, as well as a day to celebrate African-American culture and history.
While Juneteenth is only celebrated once a year, it is a great way to start the conversation and honor African-American history every day.
TLDR: It is important to have a focus on learning the history of Juneteenth and educating others. Virtual panels and events are a great and remote friendly way to get your entire global team involved. Many organizations also host panels with experts and/or guest speakers that are free to the public to attend.
Asynchronous ideas to celebrate and honor Juneteenth at any time include helping organizations that support the African American community and amplifying important voices on social media.
The greatest way to raise awareness among your employees is through education. We’ve put together some ways you can provide engaging and informative programming for your team in a remote and hybrid friendly way.
- NYT Juneteenth: The History of a New Holiday
- PBS What is Juneteenth
- National Archives The Emancipation Proclamation
- National Archives African American History
- SPLC Southern Poverty Law Center
All of these mediums of education are or can be made accessible virtually and can be experienced synchronously either in office, at home, or both. Note that the provided list of films and articles is by no means comprehensive and should serve as a starting point.
A great way to commemorate and celebrate Juneteenth is to host company wide events. Here is a list of potential events you can host either in-person or remotely:
- Juneteenth Jeopardy (virtual/hybrid)
- Understanding Juneteenth (virtual/hybrid)
- Black History Mixology Class (virtual/hybrid)
- Company Wide BBQ (in-person)
- Decorating the Workplace (in-person)
- Cooking Traditional African American Foods (virtual/hybrid/in-person)
In addition to these events, some other ways to celebrate Juneteenth include buying from black owned, local businesses and putting on music by black artists.
While significant progress has been made, inequities against African Americans still exist within society today. Here is a list of charities you and your team can support in the fight for racial equality and removal of systemic barriers.
- ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)
- NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
- NBCDI (National Black Child Development Institute)
- NOBLE (National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives)
Paid Day Off 💸
Another amazing way to celebrate is to give all your employees a day off, since Juneteenth was recently made a federal holiday. Given the importance of the holiday to many employees as a day to celebrate and reflect, consider giving everyone a paid day off, or in instances where that is not possible, offer everyone an extra vacation day.
No matter how you go about it, it is important to celebrate Juneteenth with your employees to honor the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. By providing education, running events and donating to charities, you and your team are actively celebrating African American history and contributing to the fight against ignorance and inequity.
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