It has been a pretty exciting week to watch the house and senate expeditiously move ahead a new bill that will recognize Juneteenth National Independence Day as a federal holiday for the future. As a government contractor that follows the federal calendar of holidays, we should expect to see this change starting in 2022. (Read more here).
Juneteenth is a day that celebrates freedom, liberation, and emancipation. Over 3 million enslaved African-Americans were granted human freedom by the Emancipation Proclamation, though the last enslaved African-Americans were not freed until June 19th, 1865—almost two and a half years later. Juneteenth, as the celebration of this day came to be called, is a day that represents America’s commitment to freedom and equality for all.
As we look to this Saturday Juneteenth, I hope that you find an opportunity to learn more about its significance and participate in a community event that recognizes Juneteenth as a day of recognition, healing, and celebration. In many ways, America has had a national awakening after a year of widespread racial justice protests. While we are aware that equality is often delayed, Juneteenth is a means for celebration. It is a day that celebrates liberation and resilience. To celebrate Juneteenth is to acknowledge Black history and America’s ongoing fight against systemic racism.
I am proud of our collective Cloudburst efforts over this past year in that we have prioritized and invested in our own journey to become an anti-racist organization and work to identify and unravel some of the systemic barriers that have resulted in inequities throughout our country. Let us be reminded that while we have momentum and leadership that is prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion and really working to embed equity throughout the government, there is still so much more work that needs to be done to achieve true equality and justice for Black people in America.
We encourage you to take some time to learn more about the accomplishments and contributions made by the Black community in the U.S. in spite of ongoing systemic oppression.
Ways to celebrate and acknowledge Juneteenth:
- Click here for some virtual & in person Juneteenth events
- Watch Google’s video on the history of Juneteenth and the significance behind their Juneteenth Doodle illustrated by Loveis Wise.
- Listen to ‘Juneteenth Means Everything to Me’: UK Scholar Melynda Price Discusses Importance of Juneteenth Holiday
- Read on the Historical Legacy of Juneteenth or History of Juneteenth
- Read books for kids and adults that reflect on the history of slavery.
- Watch documentaries and movies and specials to celebrate Juneteenth.
- Want to celebrate Juneteenth with your children? Here are 17 resources.
- Support Black businesses, especially SMALL BUSINESSES! Many communities now have very active black and minority owned business listings. The US Chamber of Commerce has organized a lot of resources that you can explore.