The month of June welcomes summer, as well as history.
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19 that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation signed it on January 1, 1863, however, it had little effect in several states due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce it. Once General Robert Lee surrendered in April 1865, forces were strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance. Slaves that were now free had to settle into new areas with their newfound freedom. The holiday is served as a motivation for Blacks to pray and gather together as a family.
Here’s a few ways how you and your business can celebrate the holiday:
1. Decorate your homepage paying homage to the holiday:
Even though we are practicing social distancing does not mean that we cannot enjoy the festivities that the holiday brings. Change your homepage colors for the month in honor of Juneteenth, and wave the flag of the holiday. The flag, designed by L.J. Graf, is the same colors as the American flag. The difference is that there’s a star in the middle, paying homage to the state of Texas. The star represents a “new horizon” for freedom.
2. Have an educational moment with your clients:
Create teaching tools for your clients and customers about the holiday. Write a post, create a slideshow, or a YouTube video teaching your audience the history of the holiday.
3. Make designs celebrating Juneteenth:
This is a perfect way to show your spirit! There are numerous designs that your business can create or can use. You can use these designs on your social media pages or your website. You can also create a design to print on buttons, T-shirts, etc. for your customers to purchase.
4. Have an open dialogue:
This is a perfect time to show your employees that they do not have to feel weary with your business. According to a study done by Pew Research, 57% of Black Americans said that even with some college experience, their color had affected them in getting ahead in the workplace. Discuss company diversity initiatives and ensure employees that race and gender will never be barriers to their progress within the company.
5. Bring a guest speaker:
While people are mobilizing at home, use this opportunity to bring the history lesson to them. Bring a guest speaker to your audience via a Zoom conference, Google hangout, or whatever works best for your company. This guest could be a historian to discuss more information about the holiday and how your customers can exercise their voice, or someone who is a diversity leader who can discuss practices and exercises that the everyday person can do.
6. Recognize local leaders in your community:
There are people in your community who are making a difference every day. Find local activists, leaders, or spokespersons who are the essence of what Juneteenth is all about and award them, or mention them on your website/social media pages.
Content courtesy of Lara Ashley, Founder and Editor of Brenley Magazine, Redefining what it means to be a Southern belle; an online magazine that helps women wear their crowns with grace.
CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR, LARA ASHLEY
Lara Ashley is a multifaceted journalist, she obtained her Mass Communications degree at Southern University and A&M College and is obtaining a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism in the U.K. from Cardiff University. When she’s not watching her fav reality shows (LOVES the Real Housewives franchise), spending her afternoons watching Netflix or with a good book, she’s writing and journaling.