top of page

What is Juneteenth, and How Can We Celebrate?

Ways you can practice inclusivity and awareness this Juneteenth holiday.


Juneteenth is not just another day off of work but is also a storied holiday recognizing the struggles and triumphs of African Americans during a time of slavery and civil unrest in the United States. Though we have experienced monumental social justice changes throughout the years, Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery across the United States.


Former President Barack Obama once said: “Juneteenth has never been a celebration of victory, or an acceptance of the way things are. It’s a celebration of progress. It’s an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible––and there is still so much work to do.” - Barack Obama via X (formerly known as Twitter)


At SME, I chose to research the history of Juneteenth to help build inclusivity and awareness during the national holiday. Below are ways to celebrate and practice awareness this Juneteenth, 2024:


  1. On June 19, 1865, in the state of Texas, USA, the Union Army officially enforced the Emancipation Proclamation — freeing 250,000 enslaved people during that time. A celebration of freedom commemorated this ultimate victory, now known internationally as Juneteenth. On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden declared Juneteenth a nationally observed holiday. To learn more about what Juneteenth is, visit: https://nmaahc.si.edu/explore/stories/what-juneteenth, https://www.history.com/news/what-is-juneteenth

  2. Incorporate aspects of the Juneteenth celebration into your workday! Incorporating details of Juneteenth can be done in lots of ways, such as changing your company's social media profiles to images representing Juneteenth celebrations or by representing Juneteenth’s designated colors of black, green, and red. Other ways that you can show your support can be through creating Juneteenth-centric email signatures, or even holding a day for employees to dress honoring the colors to show their appreciation. Doing so can showcase a positive, supporting environment in the workplace! To learn more about Juneteenth’s colors, see: https://www.today.com/life/holidays/juneteenth-colors-meaning-rcna155379

  3. Get active on social media! In my experience, raising awareness amongst your community on social media is a great way to celebrate holidays, share your support, and to connect with others. Consider posting about Juneteenth, or reposting from other accounts that are dedicated to spreading awareness. Some great accounts to follow are: @genzforchange, @hercampus, @uwdaction, and @workingfamilies. Whether you take to Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, or X (formerly known as Twitter), by sharing experiences and celebrations to honoring Juneteenth heroes on social media is a great way to advertise your dedication to inclusivity and awareness!

  4. Lastly, asking company leaders or local figures with significant knowledge about Juneteenth to speak gives leaders a platform to discuss the purpose of Juneteenth. Audiences and employees can learn, educate themselves, and become more aware of holidays like Juneteenth, or the communities that celebrate them. By listening and having open conversations, you can promote a comfortable, yet inclusive environment that helps people celebrate holidays like Juneteenth!


My findings are certainly not the only examples of ways to celebrate Juneteenth, but they can represent the perseverance and honor that this holiday aims to commemorate. The DEI journey that we are on requires us to continuously explore holidays, culture, celebrations, and traditions that symbolize our willingness to keep open minds and foster positive environments in the workplace.



10 views

Comments


bottom of page