Juneteenth is a very important holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in America on June 19, 1865, when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take control and make sure that all enslaved people were free.
The troops arrived in Texas an entire two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Although Juneteenth is considered to be the longest celebrated African-American holiday, it wasn't until June 17, 2021 that it finally became honored as a federal U.S. holiday.
It's clear from the over-a-century delay in federal certification that Juneteenth is a significant cultural holiday that deserves recognition, amongst all groups, now more than ever.
Adding Juneteenth to your diversity calendar is important because:
Ready to put together a month of DEI activities to celebrate Juneteenth? Check out some of these ideas to take a step forward and champion cultural diversity below.
Like we said, Juneteenth has only been a federally-recognized holiday since 2021! Many historical events were left out of Black History Month lessons in school, and this statement applies to Juneteenth as well.
Introduce your group members to historical and cultural knowledge about the holiday, through an educational and entertaining lecture with visual storytelling. This class teaches the legal framework that led to the freeing of enslaved people as well as real life incidents and experiences from those who were last to hear the emancipation decree.
If employees feel comfortable sharing, this class will feature a Q&A for greater understanding and inclusion work.
Why is this a great diversity and inclusion event for Juneteenth? Since your employees' backgrounds differ, gathering your team in a professional space for a history lesson is a step forward in educating everyone on Juneteenth's cultural significance.
How to get started 👉 Educate employees with different backgrounds in Understanding Juneteenth!
Diversity and inclusion activities can be interactive, as well as educational! Take a break and connect people in your office with a rousing game of Juneteenth Jeoparty! Questions feature all sorts of topics, such as historical figures involved in the movement, Juneteenth multimedia, and more!
Large organizations can increase employee engagement in inclusion activities by breaking up into small groups with colleagues they don't get to work with often. Plus, hosting trivia is a great way to encourage employees to think quickly on their feet!
Why is this a great diversity and inclusion event for Juneteenth? Trivia is one of the best inclusion activities that breaks up the monotony of the workday and throws some fun into the mix. Encourage employees to share something new that they learned at the end of the game!
How to get started 👉 Gather your diverse workforce for some Juneteenth Jeoparty!
Honor Juneteenth by celebrating Black culture and its impact on all mediums, including art! In this guided art history lesson, you'll learn about real life stories and different aspects of famous Black artists and historical works, before and after Juneteenth.
This class illustrates the Black experience in America through significant pieces from America's Black Holocaust Museum, The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum, The National Museum of African American History & Culture, and more!
Why is this a great diversity and inclusion event for Juneteenth? Unless your team member is an artist historian themself, or lives nearby one of these museums, it's less likely that they've been exposed to these historical works by Black artists!
How to get started 👉 Celebrate diverse backgrounds in art in Exploring Black Art!
Foster social interaction amongst your team with a Juneteenth party! Encourage everyone to utilize their diverse talents in party planning to make it a company function to remember, for instance:
If you're working in a remote setting, gather your team using your preferred online employee community platform of choice, like Zoom, to make everyone feel connected.
Why is this a great diversity and inclusion event for Juneteenth? Gathering your team regularly to engage in social settings is one of the best efforts to connect distributed teams. Plus, a cultural celebration featuring discussions with Black leaders can create interpersonal understanding of the holiday that is more difficult in a lecture setting.
Pro-tip 👉 Decorate the physical environment of the office with the colors of the Pan-African flag: black, red, and green. Use colorful markers and large art paper to make decorative signs! Working from home? Get creative and change your Zoom background instead!
Make sure they're included and shown mutual respect when planning your party, and that the celebration truly honors diversity acts and the meaning of Juneteenth, without being performative.
Celebrating cultural and national holidays is one of the many effective ways to create an inclusive work environment. Because it has only been widely recognized for such a short amount of time, Juneteenth deserves to be centered in your calendar of workplace diversity and inclusion exercises.
Eager to implement all the ideas above? Check out our Juneteenth collection to book your diversity and inclusion activities today!