June 16, 2022 (Reprinted from NYAPRS Cultural Competence Committee | ENews)
How Your Organization Can Recognize Juneteenth
by Ella F. Washington and Jasmine Sanders Harvard Business Review
Juneteenth is not just Black history, it is American history. Over the past year, in the wake of countrywide Black Lives Matter protests, many U.S. organizations have taken to acknowledging Juneteenth, or June 19 (Public Holiday Date Monday June 20), the anniversary of the day in 1865 when the last group of enslaved Black Americans were freed by Union troops. Some have offered a paid company holiday for all employees; others, an extra floating holiday to use on Juneteenth or another day, an event to celebrate Juneteenth with Black ERG groups, or learning sessions for all staff.
For DEI scholars and practitioners, it’s heartening to see this recognition and high energy around a historic moment previously only recognized by those in the minority. However, many Black and other POC employees are rightfully asking, why now? We believe companies can approach Juneteenth in a way that significantly enhances their diversity, equity, and inclusion work. This anniversary is a tangible opportunity to amplify understanding of the unique experience of Black Americans and serve as a catalyst for conversations about intersectionality.