If this is your first time celebrating Juneteenth, we are here to help educate you about this holiday and help your brand find ways to appropriately celebrate.
The history of Juneteenth
Although many people are familiar with the history of Independence Day, Juneteenth remains a holiday that is lesser known. After Independence Day, Black Americans continued to be enslaved for another 87 years. Juneteenth, a holiday celebrated on the 19th of June, commemorates the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States.
The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. However, the sad reality is that the proclamation did not instantly free all those enslaved, as thousands remained in slavery.
June 19th marks the day that federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to ensure that the enslaved people were freed after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed two years prior. The holiday commemorates the official ending of slavery in the United States.
The importance of Juneteenth
It is immensely important for Americans to recognize and understand Juneteenth. While the holiday is celebrated as the freedom of all Americans, in many ways, it also represents the delayed freedom and injustices that Black Americans have endured for centuries.
Recent demonstrations of police brutality and systemic racism in our American institutions have been brought to public awareness. As a result, social activism and the recognition of Juneteenth have greatly increased.
Juneteenth is an important opportunity for people to converse and reflect on racism in the past and today, as it serves as a reminder of the work that remains to be done in our country.
Steps for brands to celebrate Juneteenth
Step #1: Educate Your Community
In order to celebrate the holiday, you must understand its history. Juneteenth is an opportunity for awareness and tough conversations. Brands can educate their community on Juneteenth by posting educational tweets, stories, reels, or an Instagram carousel post in which your brand shares more information about the holiday and its importance.
Step #2: Do not use Juneteenth to increase sales
Brands should not be using Juneteenth as a way to increase sales. Juneteenth is a day of celebration, education, and awareness. Brands should be amplifying black voices, not using them to increase sales.
Step #3: Amplify black voices
It is important for brands to show their allyship by amplifying black voices and black owned businesses. One way brands have done so is by hosting Instagram live conversations with Black creators to discuss their own experiences in their industry.
Step #4: Show continued support
Celebrating Juneteenth is a great start; however, activism and education should not end there. Brands should think of their diversity and inclusion as a whole year round, not just on days of importance. There is plenty of work that can be done every day.
Step #5: Offer the day off to your employees
Although Juneteenth is not yet a recognized federal holiday, companies are beginning to recognize the importance of the holiday. In 2020, companies such as Nike, Twitter, and Citigroup gave their employees a paid day off in order to commemorate Juneteenth. Additionally, banks such as JPMorgan, Chase, and PNC closed early in 2020 to observe June 19th.