In 2021, Juneteenth National Independence Day was made a federal holiday, and many municipalities and businesses followed suit shortly after. Juneteenth has long been acknowledged, particularly by some in the Black community, as a celebration of emancipation for slaves in Texas who received the news about President Lincoln’s declaration of liberation on June 19, 1863, some two years after his proclamation.
Juneteenth is more than just a holiday of festive and celebratory events. In fact, it has become a catalyst for contemporary conversations about economic empowerment, educational achievement, home ownership, workforce development, access to healthcare, voting rights, social justice and more and their impact on the Black community.
As we acknowledge Juneteenth in 2023, Blacks in America have made significant progress in many areas including ownership of businesses, completion of academic degrees in higher education and others, but there is still room for improvement.
So, how should Juneteenth be celebrated? In addition to the awesome public activities that feature music and education, businesses can invest in workspaces that represent inclusion of diverse populations and equity within the workforce. Families can spend time together discussing the significance of the Juneteenth holiday focusing on the responsibility that we have to build productive communities. Municipalities can commit to leveraging the diversity of the community by working to build bridges of opportunity and collaboration for all of its citizens.
– Kenny Anderson, Director of Huntsville’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Click here to contact Anderson and learn more about the City’s DEI efforts.