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Celebrating Juneteenth (2 of 4) | Recognition in the Workplace

Now, let's talk about the importance of these holidays in the workplace. The 4th of July is a national holiday celebrated with fireworks displays from coast-to-coast. Most, if not all companies in America recognize the 4th of July with a company sponsored barbecue a day or two before a company-wide sanctioned paid day off. And while many companies may celebrate some history or heritage months, like Black History Month or Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, few companies acknowledge or celebrate Juneteenth. This is a missed opportunity for companies to demonstrate their commitment to diversity, inclusion, and belonging.

By acknowledging Juneteenth with hosted learning conversations and historically based educational events leading up to a celebratory barbeque and company-wide sanctioned paid day off, just like the 4th of July, companies can demonstrate their support for their Black employees and their commitment to creating a more inclusive workplace. It also provides an opportunity for education and reflection about how American capitalism was established through the free and forced labor of enslaved people and the ongoing struggle for economic and racial justice for all people in today’s workplace.

Now, let’s explore a few reasons why more corporations in America do not recognize Juneteenth as a corporate holiday by giving all employees the day off. One reason may be that Juneteenth is a relatively new holiday to be recognized nationwide, and some employers may not be aware of its significance or how to celebrate it appropriately. Additionally, some companies may not see the value in recognizing Juneteenth, as they may not see it as relevant to their business or industry.

Another reason why some companies may not recognize Juneteenth is that they may not have a diverse workforce or leadership team that understands the importance of the holiday to Black Americans. These organizations may not be aware of the historical significance of the holiday or the ongoing fight for economic and racial justice that it represents in the past, present, and future.

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