June 16, 2022
Juneteenth is the annual commemoration of a defining moment in American history — the end of slavery and the slave trade.
Two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, to inform the last group of enslaved Black Americans that the Civil War was over, and all slaves were free.
After renewed interest in Juneteenth, driven by social unrest and the momentum behind the Black Lives Matter movement following the killing of George Floyd in 2020, President Biden signed legislation in 2021 making Juneteenth a federal holiday in the U.S.
While recognition of the importance of Juneteenth is on the rise, more work still needs to be done to advance racial equity and justice.
Here are a few ways your company and your people can recognize Black history and culture, celebrate incredible Black achievements, and take action to drive change this Juneteenth and beyond:
Donate to organizations preserving, protecting and celebrating Black culture
If you’re looking to make an impact, here are a few vetted nonprofits to consider donating to on a regular basis:
- Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture documents African American life, history and culture with a display of more than 40,000 artifacts.
- NAACP Empowerment Programs works to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of all.
- The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change inspires new generations to carry forward the unfinished work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., strengthens causes and empowers changemakers who are continuing his efforts today.
- National Urban League elevates the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities.
Support Black-owned businesses
Intentionally shopping with Black-owned businesses in your area is one way to show support for local Black entrepreneurs and communities and help shrink the racial wealth gap. Here are a few resources to check out to find Black-owned businesses near you:
- EatOkra is a great app for finding Black-owned restaurants and food services.
- Support Black Owned is a website and mobile app that helps you find Black-owned businesses all over the United States.
- AfroBiz is an online resource for locating Black-owned businesses across the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and other countries.
- Instagram and other social networks are often a good starting place for finding smaller businesses and local gems, just by searching #supportblackbusiness or #supportblackart.
Reflect and facilitate conversations about racial equity and racism
While Juneteenth is a time for rejoicing, it’s also a time for reflection. Employee-driven engagement around imperatives like racial equity and justice is one of the best ways to raise awareness and understanding in your organization, while helping to foster a more inclusive environment.
Results from a Benevity survey show that 77% of employees believe it is important for companies to allow difficult conversations around race and social issues to occur at work, underscoring how critical it is to engage employees at all levels in discussions and support peer learning and collective action on key issues.
Get started by creating a safe space for your employees and their employee resource groups (ERGs) to engage in meaningful conversations on systemic racism and racial equity, so they can share reflections, provide support, and listen and learn from each other.
For more information on fostering inclusive workplaces and facilitating open dialogues about race and racism at your company, read our Race Conversations Guide.
Celebrate Black culture, mobilize your people and take action this Juneteenth
To learn more about Juneteenth and how you can mobilize your people to celebrate rich and diverse Black culture and take action throughout the year,
download our Juneteenth Content Kit.