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June is an exciting and busy month of the year. It is the beginning of summer vacation, PRIDE month, and a monumental holiday. An important holiday that more than a quarter of Americans know nothing about: Juneteenth.
The TechRuum BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) and the Force for Good ERGs came together to inspire our employees to commemorate the day and support local black communities. Together we reflected on how we can honor Juneteenth.
But before we can observe the holiday, let us learn more about Juneteenth and why it is a federal holiday.
What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth (Also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day) marks the day that federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, to share the news that all enslaved people were freed. This date is significant because the Emancipation Proclamation issued by Abraham Lincoln had been in effect for over two and half years prior to this announcement.
How to Honor Juneteenth
This year, leaders in the BIPOC and Force for Good ERG collaborated to provide TechRuum employees with information on ways to commemorate this historical milestone for racial justice.
Here are four ways we can respect the day together:
Honor the History of Juneteenth
Though we celebrate July 4th as Independence Day, this day does not mark liberation for all. We can honor Juneteenth by learning it is marked as a true day of freedom in the United States. It is also important to learn why it took years for the news of the Emancipation Proclamation to reach the enslaved people of Texas. Here are a few ways we encourage you to learn:
Raise Black Voices
Maybe you are already knowledgeable of the history of Juneteenth but would like suggestions on how to support Black voices. The BIPOC team suggests picking up a book from the Juneteenth Reading list. Our team highly recommends The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson.
Other ways to honor Juneteenth and enrich yourself in black history are to stream a documentary or take a walk with a meaningful Podcast. Afterwards you can reflect on what you have learned, how far we have come, and how much work still needs to be done. Our team suggests watching 13th which focuses on racial inequality in America.
There are many events happening on Juneteenth. In fact, most major cities are hosting an in-person event. Since the TechRuum headquarters are in Austin, we are going to highlight our local events but make sure to check out your local listings.
In Austin there will be a Central Texas Juneteenth 2K, Parade and Celebration with floats and entertainment.
If you are unable to attend in person you can honor Juneteenth virtually:
The George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center hosts this virtual Juneteenth celebration, featuring film screenings, poetry, music and more.
Led by two-time Grammy nominated trumpeter, Alphonso Horne, the Gotham Kings weaves the sound of New Orleans into an immersive jazz experience.
Support Black Communities
Lastly, another way to honor Juneteenth is to shop at a black owned business.
Looking for a new favorite spot to dine out? You can search by your zip code and find a local black owned restaurant. Or you can shop online to find black owned businesses. Our team compiled a list of top stores that carry everything you need.
- Target has a dedicated online store with icons to indicate if the product is black owned or founded.
- Walmart has a selection of black owned brands plus, a section dedicated to black music for June’s Black Music month.
- Amazon also highlights a plethora of black owned businesses on the Amazon Store page.
Ready to honor Juneteenth?
The BIPOC and Force for Good ERG’s goal is to inspire you with several ideas to honor this momentous holiday. These small actions make a significant difference in shaping our future while also remembering the tragic history of our country’s past and the suffering the black community has endured. If you have the day off, enjoy it. Just remember to reflect on Juneteenth’s history, so together, we can work towards a brighter future.