Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, commemorates the day when a group of enslaved people in Galveston, TX, finally learned they were free from the institution of slavery – almost two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.
This important holiday has gained significant recognition recently and has been acknowledged as a federal holiday since 2021.
As a company, it is essential to acknowledge Juneteenth and its significance and honor the day appropriately and respectfully. Below are some ways companies can celebrate Juneteenth and examples of companies that celebrated Juneteenth in 2022.
Offer Time Off or a Day of Reflection
Companies can recognize Juneteenth by offering time off to their employees. Roughly 30% of private employers offer Juneteenth as a paid holiday, including Target, Mastercard, Nike, Adobe, and Lyft. Other companies celebrate with a day of reflection.
Acknowledging the importance of the holiday provides employees with the opportunity to learn about the holiday, reflect on its significance, and participate in related activities.
In 2022, the online education platform, Coursera, recognized Juneteenth by offering its employees the day off. Additionally, they created an internal webpage featuring educational resources and virtual events related to Juneteenth.
Host a Company Event
Another way to acknowledge the holiday is by hosting a company event to celebrate Juneteenth. This can take many forms, including virtual events, in-person gatherings, or both. A company event can include educational sessions, guest speakers, cultural performances, and more.
Some companies like General Motors consider Juneteenth a day of service for its workers.
In 2022, the consulting firm McKinsey & Company hosted a virtual event featuring a panel discussion on the significance of Juneteenth and its importance in modern times.
Donate to a Relevant Cause
Companies can also celebrate Juneteenth by donating to a relevant cause. Juneteenth allows companies to “walk the walk” and fulfill their pledges to social and racial justice initiatives. Donations can also be made to organizations that support the Black community or work towards ending systemic racism.
In 2022, Microsoft donated $1 million to the National Urban League in recognition of Juneteenth to support the NUL’s efforts in advancing racial equity.
Collaborate with Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
Collaborating with Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) is a great way to acknowledge that Juneteenth promotes diversity and inclusion in the workplace. If your company already has a Black-focused ERG, get ideas and input on how they would like to see your company recognize Juneteenth.
JPMorgan Chase partnered with its Black Organization for Leadership and Development (BOLD) ERG in 2022 to host a virtual event celebrating Juneteenth. The event included educational sessions, discussions on racial equity, and performances by Black artists.
Commemorating Juneteenth is an essential way for companies to recognize the significance of this holiday and a vital part of a company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.
“Coursera Observes Juneteenth 2022,” Coursera, June 17, 2022.
“McKinsey Celebrates Juneteenth 2022,” McKinsey & Company, June 20, 2022.
“Microsoft Donates $1 Million to National Urban League to Advance Racial Equity in Recognition of Juneteenth,” Microsoft, June 17, 2022.
“JPMorgan Chase Celebrates Juneteenth 2022,” JPMorgan Chase, June 20, 2022.