This Friday, June 18th, Gem will celebrate Juneteenth. This is a special holiday within the Black community where we celebrate the culture/s, achievements and won freedoms for Black folks in this country.
Although this year Juneteenth comes at a very trying time, the Black ERG recognizes both Pride month and the increasing violence against our AAPI family as even more reason to rest, so we can continue to resist.
One of the reasons we’re observing Juneteenth is to commemorate the day that slavery officially ended for all African-Americans. Although the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863, it only affected states with a strong union presence. It was not until June 19th, 1865 that the U.S. Union Army arrived in Texas (the most remote slave state) and spread news that the Civil War had ended, and slavery along with it. Your math would be correct—it took 2.5 years before slavery was officially abolished across the entire United States at that time.
The tradition of the celebration started in the south and has made its way across the United States. Black folks would put on their finest and go to church to celebrate their new-found freedom! They would sing songs, eat great food, and dream of a better future for their children. Today we still carry on the celebration of Juneteenth in an effort to honor our Black ancestors’ strength, resiliency, and deserved freedom!
Our Black ancestors would be so proud of how far we’ve come but as we’ve seen in recent events we’re not done yet!
So please join us in celebrating Juneteenth, a joyous day for most Black Americans in this country that paved the way for us to be able to even work alongside you all today!
We ask that you use this holiday to rest and recharge. So you can, as Black Gems or allies, continue to uplift and support the Black community now and for years to come.
Happy Juneteenth! <3
Action items - things to think about
- Celebrate with us by researching the importance of the holiday and taking the day to rest.
- How you are taking care of yourself during this time of upheaval and the global pandemic?
- What superpower will you use to end racial inequality? Discuss amongst your colleagues.
- Spend time with your loved ones thinking/talking about what freedom means to you all.
- Check out how these other companies are recognizing Juneteenth!
Your Black Gems!
Questions? Ideas? Comments? Whatever this post brought up for you, we'd love to hear it.
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