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Juneteenth: Ways that your organization can adopt a Commitment to Freedom and Inclusion

By rebecca in News and Updates

Juneteenth, celebrated annually on June 19th, commemorates the day in 1865 when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to free the last remaining enslaved people. This significant day in American history became a federal holiday in 2021, and at Hire Up, we recognize its importance by designating it as a company floating holiday for our internal employees. As we honor this day, we also see it as an opportunity to strengthen our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Here are some meaningful ways that Hire Up recognizes this day and your company can too!

1. Provide a Day Off or Floating Holiday

While private employers aren’t required to pay employees for time off on federal holidays, offering Juneteenth as a paid day off or a floating holiday demonstrates your company’s commitment to recognizing this historic event. Allowing employees to observe this day, whether by closing the office or providing a day off at a later time, underscores its significance.

2. Educate and Build a Culture of Inclusion

Juneteenth is an excellent occasion to initiate conversations about workplace diversity. If your team isn’t well-versed in the holiday’s history, consider hosting a “lunch and learn” session with a guest speaker. Local professors, civil rights advocates, and community leaders can provide valuable insights. Alternatively, cultural performances can also be a powerful way to educate and inspire your team.

3. Encourage Storytelling

Create a platform for employees to share their personal stories and experiences related to Juneteenth and diversity issues. If employees are comfortable, these narratives can be shared during informal gatherings like a brown bag lunch session.

Providing traditional Juneteenth foods, such as red beverages, red velvet cake, and barbecue, can enhance the sense of community and tradition.

4. Support Black-Owned Businesses

Show your support for the Black community by organizing a field trip or group outing to Black-owned businesses. If catering lunch for Juneteenth, choose restaurants with African-American owners or purchase supplies from Black-owned vendors.

Volunteering at organizations that assist people of color in your community can also make a significant impact and inspire your team.

5. Share Your Celebrations on Social Media

Publicly sharing your company’s Juneteenth celebrations on social media not only educates your followers about the holiday but also highlights your commitment to diversity. Showcase the various ways your company is observing the day, from educational events to supporting Black-owned businesses.

Making Juneteenth Meaningful for Your Staff

When planning Juneteenth, consider involving your staff to ensure the events are meaningful and reflective of their needs and interests. Incorporating multiple ideas and activities can enrich the experience and foster a deeper appreciation for the day’s significance.

By embracing Juneteenth and its historical importance, we not only honor the past but also reinforce our dedication to creating an inclusive and equitable workplace. Let’s unite in celebrating this day and continue advancing our efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion.