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As we continue to cruise through June, we approach a holiday celebrated throughout the Black-American community on June 19th. Juneteenth has a history in the United States going back to the post-Civil War, however, it has evolved and grown from just a celebration to a movement that continuously focuses on racial equality and justice.
Here is a look at what Juneteenth is all about.
The story behind Juneteenth
Juneteenth celebrates the date back in 1865 when the last remaining enslaved Black Americans were freed by Union troops in Galveston, Texas, after the Civil War under General Order Number 3.
This order from General Gordon Granger read: “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”
On June 17th, 2021, President Joe Biden signed a bill making Juneteenth a recognized federal holiday in the U.S.
How to celebrate
Black Americans have celebrated Juneteenth for decades, especially those in Texas at the site of this victory, where it was the first state to declare Juneteenth an official holiday in 1979.
The Black community has found many ways to celebrate Juneteenth in any way possible. For example, in 1867, community leaders in Houston who were all former slaves saved up $1,000 to purchase land and devoted it specifically to Juneteenth celebrations. The land they purchased soon became known as Emancipation Park, which still holds the same name today.
Today, Juneteenth celebrations consist of parades, picnics, church services, musical performances, and many other public events across the country. Be sure to check on social media for local Juneteenth events in your area.
How to support
There are many ways to support the Black community on Juneteenth. One of the best ways is to support Black-owned businesses and organizations. Especially after the toll the COVID-19 pandemic took on local businesses, this is an easy way to help keep businesses alive. Check out some of the local Black-owned businesses in your area and take a look at this list of Charity Navigators for organizations you can donate to.
Showing your support is being an ally to the Black community and helps unify us as a society. The most impactful way to show your support is by spreading the word and continuing to stand up for racial equality. Whether it’s signing petitions or catching up on some history through books, movies, news articles, culture, or listening to the stories of friends and family, having a better understanding of what Juneteenth means to the Black community is a crucial part of Juneteenth, especially for those not familiar with it.
Juneteenth is another occasion to focus on promoting diversity in the workplace and making the office space comfortable and free of discrimination. It is a meaningful conversation that must continue to be had in offices around the country.
We at ICONMA take pride and support all our employees no matter their race, gender, religion, culture, or sexual orientation. We believe in the importance of creating a workplace environment that makes everyone feel safe and comfortable to be their best professional selves.
June 21, 2021