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Juneteenth is this upcoming Friday and at Five to Nine we believe that it is important to recognize the significance of this day by celebrating, reflecting, and connecting. While the past few weeks have shown us we still have a long way to go, it’s important to continue showing up for the Black community and our colleagues. This is why we’ve compiled a summary of Juneteenth and resources for those looking to continue building allyship with their Black colleagues. 

WHAT IS JUNETEENTH?

Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordan Granger arrived in Galveston TX, and announced the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery. However, the Emancipation Proclamation came two and a half years earlier on January 1, 1863. Many enslavers continued to hold enslaved people captive after the announcement, so Juneteenth became a symbolic date representing African American freedom.

WHY SHOULD WE CELEBRATE?

Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is time for America to truly grapple with its history of slavery that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Only when we listen and learn can we empathize with the conditions and experiences of others – the ultimate goal being to make significant and lasting improvements in our society to combat systemic racism.

WHAT CAN COMPANIES DO TO HONOR JUNETEENTH?

  1. Offer Paid Holidays – 200+ companies have joined the #hellajuneteenthmovement, committing to observe Juneteenth by marking it a permanent paid holiday
  2. Donations – Target committed $10 million to advance social justice and support rebuilding and recovery efforts in local communities. While monetary donations are great, don’t forget that you can also donate your time. Consider volunteering, educating yourself and others, signing petitions, and working to advance inclusion and belonging for all.
  3. Self-Care and Self-Preservation – Our friends at Black Girls Code reminded us that self-care and self-preservation are acts of liberation. “In observance of Juneteenth, the team at Black Girls CODE is creating a safe space where the community can share space and be uplifted. Join us virtually on 6/19 for a day of healing through the arts and conversation featuring poets Aja Monet, Chinaka Hodge, and facilitator Autumn Meghan Brown. RSVP below: bit.ly/bgcjuneteenth
  4. Continuous Learning & Education – Uplift Black voices by encouraging all employees within the organization to engage in continuous learning and education. Employers should work with learning and development and People teams to design curriculum to support global D&I discussions.
  5. Champion Black and POC employees – Commit to promoting, developing, training, mentoring and sponsoring Black & POC employees. Provide the forum for healthy conversations to happen. Speak up for Black and POC employees when they’re in the room and when they’re not.